NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance (BCFA) yesterday commended the government for the tabling and passing of the new fisheries bill, describing it as “progressive”.
The Fisheries Bill, 2020 repeals the Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Act, 1977, and seeks to prevent individuals who are not citizens of The Bahamas from engaging in commercial fishing. The Immigration (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which seeks to ensure that work permits are not granted for commercial fishing, was also passed in Parliament on Wednesday.
The BCFA said yesterday in a statement: ”The Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance commends the government for the tabling and [passing] of the new Fisheries Bill. The unanimous consent solidifies the lower house’s agreement to the bill and we anticipate the same for the upper house in due course. The new fisheries bill replaces the Bahamas Fisheries Resource Jurisdiction Act and is a progressive bill containing many of the recommendations presented by BCFA after many years of consultation. This bill also establishes the Fisheries Department, giving legal authority to our fisheries managers.”
The BCFA added: “In addition to the Department of Marine Resources, we further commend other NGOs and fisheries stakeholders for their collaborations and we look forward to the live working of the new bill. The marine resources of The Bahamas are our patrimony and the preservation of it for future generations of Bahamians should always be our priority.”
The Coalition For Responsible Fishing (CFRF), which represents major fisheries wholesalers, processors and exporters, has warned that the changes to fisheries and immigration laws preventing foreigners working on locally-owned boats will result in increased unemployment and the failure of local fisheries businesses.