BNT to issue statement on shark culling proposal today
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamian fishermen have recommended that the government temporarily lift the ban on shark harvesting, and allow culling to balance the population.
In a statement, the Bahamas Commercial Fisher Alliance backed recent remarks by Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest who noted that “sharks and turtles” have become a “nuisance” to fishermen.
Turnquest called on the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine resources to look into the matter.
His comments came days after a Grand Bahama fisherman, Anthony Feaster, was attacked by a shark, leaving him with an injured hand.
“In 2011 the BCFA supported the protection of sharks in The Bahamas through the establishment of a shark sanctuary with the understanding that the state of the shark population would be assessed after ten years,” said the BCFA.
“The protective measures are successful as we see an explosion in the shark populations, however with this success come the hazards of overpopulation, which unfortunately increases the competition for food causing the animals to seek other food sources.
“Sharks now equate the sound of boat engines with food, where any water base activity has the potential to bringing these apex predators in contact with man as sharks aggressively hunt for food.”
The alliance added: “We recommend the government explore the possibility of temporarily lifting the ban on harvesting sharks for a minute period that would allow culling to balance the population. This we feel would eliminate the need to seek non-natural feeding sources and encourage the animals to engage in natural predation.”
Sharks have been fully protected in The Bahamas since July 2011 when the country was declared a shark sanctuary.
When contacted by Eyewitness News, Bahamas National Trust (BNT) Executive Director Eric Carey said he would meet with his team to discuss the matter and issue a formal statement today.