Statement on Proposed Fisheries Legislation

It has been a long-standing position of the PLP, that commercial fishing should be reserved for Bahamians only; that has not changed.  I call for a firm commitment of the government and Prime Minister to denounce the foolish talk proposed that would encourage foreign labour on Bahamian fishing vessels.

The new proposed fisheries legislation has been a compilation of the hard work and input of fishermen, fishing communities, stakeholders, the Progressive Liberal Party as well as the current Government. 

In principle the Progressive Liberal Party supports it.

While the government might want to take full credit as possibly the only bright light during their dismal governing tenure, they can not deny that this has been a collaboration for the good of fishermen across the country.

It is a move in the right direction to ensure that fishing is for Bahamians only, however we must also explore avenues to expand the fishing industry and to take it to the next level. 

The Government can facilitate larger export markets, create job training initiatives for young entrepreneurial fishermen, create tax incentives to encourage commercial fishing and alleviate red tape that would hinder the expansion of the industry.  The Government can also implement a local online fisheries application process spear headed by the Department of Marine Resources.

While this legislation is a step in the right direction, we also call upon the Government to ensure that the laws are ENFORCED in order to protect the hard working fishermen of this country.

All fake work permits of foreign persons working on fishing vessels should be revoked post haste and suspected  marriages of convenience investigated for fraud. 

I call upon the Minister of Immigration to take immediate action in this regard.

Foreign Poachers continue to steal from the fishermen of this Bahamas and their cries for protection has been long and loud with merit.

Legislation without enforcement does not alleviate the issue. There must be greater enforcement of our fisheries regulations, period.

“Commercial fishing in the waters of the Bahamas is only for Bahamians. No one else“