Conch Beds Destroyed

Tuesday 13th, September 2011 / 09:26 Published by

Jet skis operated by Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. are driving Berry Islands fishermen farther away from profits — with the activity depleting the natural conch bed they rely on.

“When I came here, the conch bed had a tremendous amount of conch,” said Captain Antonio Roberts.

He suspects there will only be enough conch resources left in the area for another five years.

He’s hoping some kind of regulations are implemented to stop this outcome before it happens. It comes as poaching by tourists is on the rise in the islands, where many fishermen say regular policing is an issue.

In many instances, Roberts said the visitors carry back with them fish and lobster that far exceeds the limit they are allowed to take out of the country, with a blatant disregard to regulations protecting the industry for Bahamian fishermen.

The problems are acknowledged by the Bahamas Marine Exporters Association and the Department of Marine Resources in a recent seminar. However, the fishermen say nothing significant has happened to change the problems affecting their livelihood.

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