Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard said yesterday that the vessels seized from Dominican poachers last October will not be sold and the owners are being pursued for prosecution.
“I am pleased that the government of The Bahamas has made a determination that the Dominican vessels will not make [their] way back in circulation,” Pintard said.
“So, for all the persons who continue to call me seeking to purchase those vessels, the Cabinet of The Bahamas has said in unequivocal language that there is no possibility that those vessels will be sold.
“Instead, in short order, we will make an announcement [as to] what will happen to those vessels, but they will not be available for purchase.
“We will make that an event.”
Last October, three Dominican vessels with 124 crew members illegally entered Cuban waters while being pursued by the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) for illegally fishing in Bahamian waters.
The confrontation resulted in a shootout which resulted in the vessels being apprehended by the RBDF where they discovered tens of thousands of pounds of seafood product on board.
Pintard said in the House of Assembly yesterday that his ministry met with the United States Embassy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to discuss the matter.
“We are going to determine who owns the vessels that continue to poach in Bahamian waters.
“Whether they are Bahamian, American, or Dominican owners, we, along with our partners throughout the region, we intend to pursue them and to prosecute them.
“And so, we ask you to keep the faith that we are on the job and working on your behalf.”
Pintard referred to poaching as a vexing issue and has said before that it is a raping and pillaging of Bahamian waters.
He previously promised stiffer penalties for those caught poaching.
Education: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) 3rd Year