By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Bahamas National Trust’s (BNT) chairman has called for anchorage fees to be imposed in mooring spots throughout the Bahamas.
Addressing the ninth annual Exuma Business Outlook conference, Eric Carey noted that while the BNT had implemented anchorage fees at the Exuma Land & Sea Park to cover its annual operating expenses and upgrade infrastructure, the initiative was one he believed should be implemented in other areas.
“We need to think about doing these sorts of initiatives in other areas like Elizabeth Harbour off of Black Point, Staniel Cay and Nassau Harbour,” he said.
“They come down there they anchor and they pay absolutely nothing and they come fully stocked. Half of the time they don’t even spend $5 in the Bahamas and what do they eat? Our fish,” said Mr Carey.
Mr Carey noted that it costs the BNT $6000,000 annually to run the Exuma Land & Sea Park, which the Trust had to recoup from boaters.
Mr Carey said that the Exuma Land & Sea Park contributes approximately $2.5 million to the economy of that island each year.
“It’s an important stop and this is what national parks do.
“If a park is there people have it as a part of their agenda that they want to spend time in the Exuma Land & Sea Park,” said Mr Carey.
Stressing the need to wide the scope of anchorage fees Mr Carey added: Thousands of boats come in and lay up in Elizabeth Harbour, everyone of them should be picking up a mooring for which they should pay and if they don’t want to pay then they should go somewhere else. We have water quality issues and anchor damage in Elizabeth Harbour.
“The Bahamas sells itself as sun, sand and sea but there is so much more that we need to be selling.
“As an organisation we have never really promoted that the Bahamas needs to become a mecca for eco-tourism and that all of our efforts should be focused on eco-tourism,” Mr Carey added.