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Gray ‘Seeks Tough Poaching Penalties’

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V Alfred Gray

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

WITH the capture of another group of Dominican poachers, Marine Resources Minister V Alfred Gray said he is pushing for harsher penalties to be written into the Fisheries Act on amendment.

While the changes are to be tabled in Parliament before the end of the budget year, Mr Gray said he hopes the Christie Cabinet will approve fines up to $250,000 for the captain, $50,000 for each crew member, and that the vessel will be confiscated.

As it stands, the fine for each poacher does not exceed $5,000.

The long-standing challenges with poachers robbing the Bahamas’ waters of hundreds of thousands of pounds in seafood last year led the government to engage the Dominican government in talks. However, with the continued violation of Fisheries Laws, Mr Gray said he was not sure whether officials in the Dominican Republic took seriously the government’s warnings.

“We met with the president of the Dominican Republic and he assured us that we had their full support,” said Mr Gray.

“A memorandum of understanding was prepared and is with them now with terms and conditions to be finalised. They are supposed to be vetting them.

“In part and parcel, one of the conditions was that Dominican vessels are to be outfitted with GPS systems to ensure that the fishermen do not venture out of their own borders.”

On Saturday, Defence Force officers arrested 40 Dominicans, who are suspected of poaching off the coast of Andros.

The Dominicans and their vessel, reports said, were apprehended by Her Majesty’s Bahamian Ship for illegally fishing in Bahamian waters.

In a press statement, RBDF officials said during a routine patrol, HMBS Nassau got information about Dominican fishing vessels on the Great Bahama Bank and was directed to proceed to the area.

Later that day while in the area Guinchos Cays, HMBS Nassau arrested a 70 ft Dominican fishing vessel with about 40 persons on board.

The Dominican vessel was intercepted approximately 75 nautical miles south of Andros with an undetermined amount of fish on board.

The vessel and occupants were detained by Defence Force marines and will be brought to New Providence where they will be handed over to the appropriate authorities for further processing.

In January, nearly $100,000 in fines were collected from the captain and crew of a Dominican vessel that was arrested for illegally fishing in Bahamian waters in December.

With that arrest, 17 Dominicans were caught, but 33 others evaded capture after the group of 50 were spotted poaching near Cay Lobos, just off the Great Bahama Bank.

Comments

Guy 6 years, 4 months ago

The Dominicans have us for a complete joke. 90 percent of the time they are able to poach thousands of pounds of seafood from our waters without being caught. By the time we do catch up with them, they are happy to pay the $5k in fines and haul azz back to the DR and catch the next boat sailing to get more fish out of our seas. Why do we have to wait until the end of the budget year? Shouldn't our lawmakers hasten to protect our resources? What laws are being passed in our parliament that are so pressing that this one has to wait so long? What are these politicians busy doing???

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 4 months ago

After the stories coming out about the hostile and violent capture of this latest vessel, they better beef up the RBDF artillery!!

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proudloudandfnm 6 years, 4 months ago

I fully support Mr. Gray's suggestions. I hope to see these laws on the books with much haste. I'd like to see the ones they have in custody now lose their boat and spend some time in Fox Hill for shooting at our DF officers. They had 50 crew. There's 250 grand plus 25 for the captain. 275 grand and they lose their boat and they go to jail. Now that's what you call sending a message!

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Guy 6 years, 4 months ago

Fines should be doubled for repeat offenders!

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larry 6 years, 4 months ago

most of these Dominican boats are owned by American fish companies the owners sail through our waters on sail boats and give the fishing vessels gps location of fishing grounds and heads up when the RBDF in the area

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Mayaguana34 6 years, 4 months ago

There is already provision for the vessels to be seized - that is sufficient and should be enforced - its the ultimate deterrent!! Alfred Gray is the worst Minister in the Christie Government and in two years cannot point to a single accomplishment.....And with all that the sector needs he send money back to the treasury!

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sheeprunner12 6 years, 4 months ago

Mayaguana, I feel u. He wud do well growin some pigeon peas down in der South.

Gray neds to go find ALL dem big time Bahamians who run da poaching racket.......... some a he lawyer friends dem

WAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Straight_Talk_Bahamas 6 years, 4 months ago

So If these poachers are firing on Defense force officers, what are they being charged with? Attempted Murder? Certainly it should be much more than a poaching charge at this point? Do you think they secured the shot gun and shells for finger prints?

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realfreethinker 6 years, 4 months ago

At the rate our commish going they will be charged with assault. we dont want too many attempted murder charges on the books

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EasternGate 6 years, 4 months ago

Why does the Cabinet continue to think we are fools? When they went to the Dominican Republic I knew if was a waste of time, and so did they. obviously, The Dominican Government encourages their fishermen to pillage our waters

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shortpants 6 years, 4 months ago

Alfred Gray can't do much for his Ministry because everyday he down on Dowdeswell Street setting up house and blocking traffic ,so when they kick his black ass to the curb he will be well set .

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leonardlaing 6 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Minister you are like the rest talk and talk and gets nothing done. The story of my life.....

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SP 6 years, 4 months ago

Dominicans, Haitians, Africans, Jamaicans, Latinos, Asians and everybody else take the Bahamas government as the jackass's they have proven to be.

AGAIN.....SHUT THE PHUCK UP GREY!

You jackass's have been talking, debating and tinking for 40 years! accomplishing NOTHING!

GET IT PHUCKING DONE! OR Get the hell O-U-T of our way!!!!

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asiseeit 6 years, 4 months ago

This is a WAR and if we lose it we can kiss our #1 export goodbye, hell we can kiss our environment goodbye as the Dominicans will wipe it out. The government is always talking about money, well the Dominicans are stealing the lively hood of untold Bahamians and at the same time THE GOVERNMENT. Get it strait if they could not STEAL our lobster and fish they would have to buy it from us. How can a country with no viable lobster fishery export lobster? Sink every one of those boats, make artificial reefs out of them, whatever, just make sure these THEIVES do not get them back. FINE them to kingdom come, no less than $50,000 a crew member or ten years and $250,000 or 25 years for the captains. These parasites will kill our country if drastic action is not taken Now. The government of the Bahamas needs to WAKE UP! Bahamians are tierd of our governments talk and utter slackness, they are getting madder than hell.

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SP 6 years, 4 months ago

"While the changes are to be tabled in Parliament before the end of the budget year"...

Why PRAY TELL the big delay? A multitude of decades old problems after two years in power and these clowns are still "tinkin bout dis and tinken bout dat"

We need more politicians like Dr. Rollins who is not afraid to kick ass and take names later.

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asiseeit 6 years, 4 months ago

Who wins if nothing is done? Think on that! Somebody is making a killing.

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asiseeit 6 years, 4 months ago

Do the police question the illegal fishermen. Is there an active investigation into who REALLY is making the big bucks. Where do they take the fish and lobster to process it for market? Have they followed the trail to see how this operation really works? Why does not the press ask the hard questions and only give us the soft story? How about some good old hard as nails investiagative reporting?

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shortpants 6 years, 4 months ago

asiseeit- These so call people from Prime Minister ,Commissioner, Governor General & Cabinet thieves and crooks don't give a hoot about this country .Dominicans have been raping our waters from conception .When they are caught they pay a small fine and they are right back to start over again .Equip RBDF with the tools to service our waters was that not one of there cry that they will do when they get in the power.No they went and dig up the dead .This government right now is the worst, we believe in Bahamians .They started all this bullshit. only the same ole few will be taken care off.And someone please tell Wilson the snake to go take a hike, he should keep his long mouth shut on government matters haven’t he rape the Bahamian people enough.

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