NASSAU, BAHAMAS – In an effort to avoid the implementation of a closed conch season, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Michael Pintard, said the government is now reducing the exportation of conch on an annual basis.
“Presently, some 650,000 pounds of conch has been exported on an annual basis. Beginning this year, we started the reduction of those quotas that we have allocated to various exporters and that will continue in a very substantial way over the next two years,” said Pintard in a recent interview with Eyewitness News Online.
Minister Pintard said that the ministry has also been in contact with exporters, who understand the position that the government is taking to ensure that the supply of conch is not depleted.
“We have been meeting with the exporters and they clearly understand the position that government is taking. We are making sure that every decision we make is on the basis of science,” Pintard said.
According to Pintard, Cabinet has also recently approved the hiring of 37 new fishery officers
as a means to guard against illegal fishing.
“In order to make sure that we do our part as a government, we have stepped up enforcement monitoring, and have made adjustments to our systems,” Pintard said.
He said while he is confident that their efforts will be successful, the government has also made other provisions.
“One of the unfortunate things that is devastating our marine stock is poachers in the southern Bahamas [and] in particular, poachers from the Dominican Republic, [and] we are moving aggressively to address that issue,” he said.
Pintard also revealed that Cabinet has also approved the introduction of drone technology and more than five million dollars has been spent for its implementation.
“We are also strengthening the Defence Force base in both Ragged Island as well as Inagua,” Pintard said, adding that his ministry will also be collaborating with the American Embassy to launch a massive knowledge campaign to inform persons of their rights in Bahamian waters.