Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard is hoping a revamp of the Fisheries Act will address the deficiencies within the Department of Marine Resources and make it easier for the country to profit from the fisheries sector.
Pintard said an extensive review of the act is ongoing, with the aim of not only increasing penalties for those caught in contravention of the laws, but also streamlining the efficiency of the department.
“The first is, we’re reviewing the Fisheries Act; we expect that the stakeholders that are reviewing it will forward it to me sometime in September, and in
October or so I will take it to Cabinet,” Pintard said in a recent interview with Guardian Business.
“The second thing is there is a need for us to increase the resources of the department. We have a scarcity, in my estimation, of fisheries officers and vessels, and so while we are increasing it in this budget there is a need to continue to do so.
“Which is why I’ve said to colleagues there is a need for us to, upon conviction [of Fisheries Act violations], we keep those vessels, so that we can put them either as a part of our inventory in fisheries, or as the inventory in BAMSI (Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute), which would be useful for any research that we are conducting.”
While amendments to the Fisheries Act would address a range of benefits the sector can accrue, Pintard said a major focus will be to address some of the challenges the country is having as it relates to poaching.
“So there’s a need for us to increase the penalties for poachers, both in terms of the actual dollar amount for captains as well as crew members, but also to address the issue of jail time,” he said.
“So the new Fisheries Act itself would provide a broad context in which we improve that sector.”
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News
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