In a bid to put a damper on the amount of illegal Dominican fishermen who poach in Bahamian waters, Agriculture and Marine Resources V. Alfred Gray is expected to travel to the Dominican Republic next Monday for high level talks with officials there.
For years The Bahamas has been plagued with thousands of foreign fishermen who poach Bahamian waters for precious resources each year, putting local fishermen’s lives at risk and depleting their resources.
Minister Gray said he hopes the October 29 trip brings some resolution to this years’ long problem.
“It’s a trip that’s designed to bring focused attention to the problems which we face as a country from the poaching of Dominican fishermen in our waters,” he said. “The delegation will comprise of myself, the Minister of National Security Dr. (Bernard) Nottage, the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Fred) Mitchell, and the Minister of Investments (Ryan) Pinder.
“We will all go on October 29 and return on November 1 and a myriad of issues will be discussed including these fishermen coming in our waters and what resolution we might be able to find to cause the elimination of that poaching.”
Minister Gray said this meeting will take a three-prong approach which will firstly seek the Dominican government’s assistance of taking the problem of poaching to that country’s nationals.
“If the government is willing to assist in that regard, then we as a government would seek to use our best efforts to have a public relations campaign in the Dominican Republic so that the television, the newspapers, whatever means, of getting the message out to them that The Bahamas is very serious about our fisheries and the protection of it and the penalties of it are very stiff and we want them to know that this is our livelihood and we need their cooperation in protecting this,” he said.