Categorized | Featured, National News

Fishermen Demand An End To Poaching


Bahamian fishermen, fearful that their livelihoods are being undermined by foreign poachers and fishermen using immigration loopholes to obtain permits, are calling on the government to better enforce fishing laws.

Adrian LaRoda of The Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance (BCFA) said that the body was prompted to speak out after an operator of a fish house recently allegedly asked the government to allow foreigners to fish in The Bahamas.

Mr. LaRoda said that in the past 20 years, the local fishing industry has seen an influx of foreigners being brought in to fish in The Bahamas at the detriment of both Bahamian fishermen and the local fishing industry.

“The rational for this request is the myth that Bahamians do not want to work – that is simply not true,” Mr. LaRoda said.

“The majority of The Bahamas’ fishing fleet is manned by Bahamians. Certain operators, influenced of their own personal interest are placing the country at great risk from sanctions on exports and exclusion from other lucrative markets because they illegally employ foreigners who do not use sustainable fishing methods, harvest spawning lobsters, harvest undersize and juvenile fish, harvest fish out of season and use prohibited apparatus such as spear guns, chemical bombs and bleach.”

Local fishermen also argue that some fish house operators have found ways of circumventing the law by acquiring permits for foreign fishermen under the guise of engineers and general workers.

Mr. LaRoda said that there is sufficient Bahamian labour to be employed on all local fishing vessels since most of the country’s fishing workforce is underemployed.

Furthermore, the BCFA alleges that some local operators liaise with poachers out at sea to purchase product to be brought to New Providence as well as aid with human smuggling.

The alliance has called on the government to immediately enact the fisheries regulations by immediately ceasing the policy of having separate agency’s issue permits for fishing industry operators.

The BFCA has also asked the government to rescind the policy of granting permits to foreign spouses to engage in the fishing industry claiming the loophole is in contravention with the fisheries regulation.

Additionally, the BFCA wants a requirement for official PADI licences in order to obtain compressor permits.

“The authority must act now and publicly show that all infractions of the fisheries regulations will be harshly dealt with,” Mr. LaRoda said. “Protectionism, separatism and greedism will no longer be tolerated at the expense of the Bahamian people. And the young people must believe that they can come into this industry and partake of what providence has provided, in their Bahamas.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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