NASSAU, BAHAMAS – While Vice Chairman of The Bahamas Fishing Alliance, Keith Carroll applauds the government’s efforts to address the depletion of the Nassau Grouper and the Queen Conch, he stressed on Monday that the on-going issue of poaching must be given immediate attention.
On Sunday, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Michael Pintard said poachers, primarily from the Dominican Republic, have wreaked havoc on our resources in the Southern Bahamas. He said to a lesser extent, some American sports fishermen and leisure cruisers have also had a negative impact on Bahamian resources through their illegal harvesting in the Northern Bahamas.
Pintard noted, however, that Bahamians are not excluded
But yesterday, Carroll told Eyewitness News Online that the government wants to place some of the blame of poaching on Bahamians when Bahamian fishermen have been complaining about this issue for the past 25 years.
“We have problems with illegal poachers, and the ones that come here and marry for convenience,” Carroll claimed, adding that Bahamian fishermen are actually ‘considerate’.
Carroll further noted that increasing the number of fisheries officers is a waste and will not help the issue if Dominicans, both legal and illegal, continue to feel ‘entitled’ to Bahamians waters.
He said the ministry must first tackle poaching and then focus on preserving the marine resources of The Bahamas.
“They could add as much fishery officers as they want to, but our problem is these Dominicans,” Carroll said angrily.
“They don’t have no fish in their waters so they come and take ours.
“They come to The Bahamas with the same dirty habits.”
Carroll said he is hoping for a better mandate to be put in place to ban poachers who appear to be taking control of Bahamian waters.
On Sunday, Pintard said his ministry is also dramatically increasing its enforcement ability by adding an additional 26 fisheries officers to its team in the short term.