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Poachers Decimate Southern Crawfish

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

THE crawfish season has gotten off to a rocky start for fishermen in the southern Bahamas according to Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance (BCFA) vice-president Keith Carroll, who blamed poachers for leaving the fishing grounds “almost completely dead”.

The crawfish season began August 1 and runs to March 31.

“Fishermen in the northern Bahamas are doing alright. The southern Bahamas where the poachers fish all year round is almost completely dead. We weren’t expecting anything because of what we saw with the poaching going on there and it turned out to be just as we feared,” said Mr Carroll.

Mr Carroll suggested that beefed up daily patrols by the Defence Force during the closed season are needed to help curb poaching as the government works to draft legislation which will introduce stiffer penalties.

Agriculture and Marine Resources Minister Michael Pintard said last week the Fisheries Act is currently being reviewed by an advisory committee which will present recommendations to the government in October over possible stiffer penalties for poachers.

Forty-six Dominican poachers were recently fined over $3 million over poaching convictions. The Dominicans were arrested by RBDF vessel HMBS Madeira aboard their vessel “Ronnye”, approximately 20 nautical miles south east of Cay Lobos on July 8. The men were charged with illegal foreign fishing; possession of a grouper less than three pounds; possession of fresh crawfish during the closed season; possession of undersized crawfish and possession of prohibited apparatus.

Mr Carroll said local fishermen were watching closely to see what prison term could be imposed if the fines were not paid, telling Tribune Business the BCFA was advocating that lengthier prison terms be imposed on poachers.

“The fishermen are wondering if they don’t pay the fine what kind of jail time they would get. It’s good to to see that someone realised what they are doing and is putting their foot down,” said Carroll

“The Fisheries Act is being revised right now. Myself and some other fishermen as well as different groups are a part of that process. We are making recommendations for stiffer penalties. It’s going to Parliament hopefully in October and hopefully it will pass and we will see a lot of changes in the fishing industry. We are recommending the fines for poaching will be higher and that significant jail time be imposed on the captain among other things. I don’t know if they will approve all of our recommendations but I know whatever we are asking for is for the betterment of our country and to protect the industry for future generations,” Carroll said.

Comments

John 2 years, 1 month ago

So what was the purpose of spending 220 million on new Defense Force boats..

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SP 2 years, 1 month ago

Finders fees perhaps? A large number of funds changed hands in the transaction which means kickbacks and other "incentives" were very possible.

Everything done in the dark will come to light soon enough. Beleive it or not "There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light."

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SP 2 years, 1 month ago

Nobody should be the least surprised Dominican poachers are leaving Bahamas fishing grounds “almost completely dead”. After all, they overfished and decimated their own fishing grounds many years ago!

Today we are reaping the rewards of decades of PLP and FNM procrastination, complicity, and corruption, which facilitated Dominican and American commercial fisherman overfishing our waters 24/7/365 to the point of the present devastation.

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mandela 2 years, 1 month ago

The RBDF should leave the cannabis runners alone and focus on the poachers they are doing much, much more damage.

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bogart 2 years, 1 month ago

Somehow our policy of apprehension or defence of our territory enables poachers decimating fishing and ocean assets, illegal migrant boats repeatedly penetrate borders wooden boats unlit nighttime endangers shipping...endamgers themselves, drug boats .....The policy of protecting our waters.....needs to evolve.....needs to incorporate an AIR WING WITH LIGHT PLANES......light arms.....to cover large swathes of ocean quickly.....and report back.....enabling best use of types of NAVAL VESSELS to triangulate best base from which to dispatch fastest vessels to intercept ....Defence needs to incorporate Radar and surveillamce balloons....our ocean space needs to be mapped out and defence apprehension checkpoints fixed to maximize enable best use of resourse to defend territory... An AIRWing OF DOZEN PLUS PLANES CAPABLE OF 2-400 knots needed...proactivve rather than reactive is needed.

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killemwitdakno 2 years, 1 month ago

PLP had good results with preventing this. Go back and review.

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