Categorized | National News

Stiff penalties Suggested For Poachers

Poachers in the Bahamas should  pay a hefty price,  according to Marine Resources Minister, Michael Pintard,  after three Dominican motherships were captured with a crew of 124  and over 60,000  pounds of seafood.

“There is a commitment to ensure that in that legislation there is increased penalty for especially the boat captain.

“We are also committed to pursuing diligently home and abroad the owners of these vessels, some of whom may be American, Dominicans and quite possibly even Bahamians,” he added.

“We will investigate and we’ll spare no effort to do so.

“There is a call that is consistent with the view of many of my colleagues that a number of these vessels should be sunk and to be made reefs in Bahamian waters.” 

Mr. Pintard commended Bahamian fishermen, asking them to continue to work with the ministry, because after all, they’re all in this together.

“The call was made for fines to be hefty, the court delivered a remarkable set of fines, ranging I believe somewhere in the vicinity of  $2.3 million, some rounded off which I like very much, to $3million,” he said.

“And that lasted, that created enthusiasm for a few days before persons went back on the warpath,” he added. 

“This cannot be a moving goal post, progress is being made, are we there yet, no, are making progress yes.”

The  Minister commended the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and all those who assisted with the capture of the poachers.

As for the 120 plus Dominicans caught, no word yet on when they will appear before a magistrate.

Under the  law, Bahamian fishermen have the right to carry arms on the high seas; a real assurance considering things sometimes get violent.

Case in point, the shoot-out between Dominican and Defence Force Officers this past weekend.

Local fishermen argue that this is something that they have  long had to contend with, still, Foreign Affairs Minister, Darren Henfield urged the group not to take matters into their own hands. 

“Please do not engage these fishermen on the high sea, when you encounter them call the authorities who are trained and suited and equipped to deal with them.

“And to assure them that we’re doing our best to protect our fisheries resources, not only for them, this generation now but for generations of Bahamians yet to come,” he added. 

“That’s our job, that’s our sworn duty and that’s what we’re going to do,” said the Minister.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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