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MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERS TO DISCUSS SPEAR FISHING
Sunday 14th April 2013

Officials in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing, and Environment and representatives of the fisher folk community have committed to continuing the dialogue began earlier this week, primarily on two issues affecting the latter group.

During a meeting on Thursday at the ministry’s headquarters, which was attended by Hon. Hilson Baptiste Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Housing, and Environment, Permanent Secretary Robelto Isaac, senior officials from Fisheries Division, Members of the Fisherman Alliance, The Fisherman’s Cooperative and members of the Spear Fishing Association, the participants discussed the regulation that allows spear fishers a maximum of six fish in a 24-hour period and the formulation of a Fisherman’s Advisory Committee.

The matter of the quota came to the fore in the press this week, with affected individuals requesting a revisit of the regulation. They also noted that in addition to the threat to their livelihoods, officers attached to the Coast Guard have been enforcing the regulation.

Mr. Isaac was mandated to communicate with the permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Sharon Peters, to advise that the fishermen have been granted a moratorium, until the regulation is revisited and for them to regularise their status.

All fishermen were advised to visit the Fisheries Division in Point to obtain the necessary licences.
Minister Baptiste, meanwhile, said he would begin formulating the Fisherman’s Advisory Committee next week.

The eight-member body will include commercial fishermen, a representative from the Fisheries Division and other individuals who can make valuable contributions to the effective and sustainable management of fisheries.

The committee will play a vital liaison role between the fishing community and the Fisheries Division.

Minister Baptiste urged all present at the meeting to work with one accord, noting that the fishermen and the authorities are partners.

“Let’s put our differences aside and work together to protect our waters. We don’t need to be at odds with you the fishermen because we don’t have enough personnel to manage the fishing and coastal zones, so let’s work together and manage it for the future,” Minister Baptiste said.


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