New Vessels To Help Combat Poaching
NASSAU, Bahamas — The Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government V. Alfred Gray told fishermen that the Government has agreed to purchase 11 new vessels for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to be able to better police Bahamian waters.
Speaking at a meeting with the fishermen at Pilgrim Baptist Temple, July 23, Minister Gray explained that the RBDF only has four boats that are operational, making it difficult for them to be on the lookout for poachers.
“So most of the problems we are having right now are a result of the Defence Force not having the sufficient number of vessels it needs to police the Bahamian waters,” he said.
Poaching was one of the main concerns the fishermen discussed with the Minister and senior officials from the Ministry during the early morning meeting.
Undersecretary, Rena Glinton; Deputy Director, Marine Resources, Edison Deleveaux and the Director of Agriculture, Simeon Pinder, also attended the meeting.
Minister Gray said Prime Minister Christie has charged the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell, Minister Gray and other agencies of the Government to travel to the Dominican Republic and speak with that country’s government concerning its nationals poaching in Bahamian waters.
He noted that most of the foreign nationals poaching in Bahamians are from the Dominican Republic.
Minister Gray said the Bahamian Government believes that getting the Dominican Republic’s government involved will go a long way in deterring poachers from that country.
The Minister also warned the fishermen not to approach Dominican Republic boats and get involved in a confrontation.
“Normally when they come out to sea like that, they are armed and possibly dangerous, because they are going out looking for fish and they do not intend for anybody to stop them.”
Instead, he advised local fishermen to use caution and contact RBDF officers as soon as they are able to pass on the information.
Minister Gray also said that some Bahamian fishermen are guilty of breaking the laws as well when they ask for a permit to hire a Dominican Republic national to work as a boat captain, but then turn around and have him diving instead.
He urged the Bahamian fishermen not to help foreign nationals by breaking the law.
Minister Gray also told the fishermen that they should register with the Government so that they can receive exemptions and other benefits offered by the Government.
He added that to qualify for the exemptions and benefits, they must also, as an individual or as an owner of a company, obtain a business license after registering.
“We do offer exemptions off certain items for fishing and the Government does not ask you for a thing back; when you make your money, it is your money.” Minister Gray said, “The only thing we ask you is to be legal.”
By Llonella Gilbert
Bahamas Information Services
Caption: Meeting with Arawak Cay and Potters Cay Fish Farmers July 23 at Pilgrim Baptist Temple, St. James Rd. At left is Rena Glinton, Under Secretary. (BIS Photo / Raymond A. Bethel)fishing, law