The Governments of Barbados and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago have taken steps to protect the crew and fishing vessels of their nationals when detained in each country???s territorial waters, by the signing of a Protocol on Common Procedures for dealing with this issue.
The Protocol was signed on Tuesday, December 2, in Port-of-Spain by Barbados??? non-resident High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, Robert Morris, and that country???s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Dookeran.
The Protocol is designed to be reciprocal in nature, and will set out standards and procedures on how fishing vessels and crew are handled in the event that they are detained or arrested by either party.
According to the document, where crew members are arrested or a fishing vessel detained by the other party, both parties shall maintain a log of events relating to the arrest of the crew or the detention of fishing vessels.
Within 48 hours of the docking of a detained fishing vessel, the detaining State shall provide information to the other State, which includes the registration and name of the fishing vessel; the date and time of the detention coordinates of the location where the fishing vessel was fishing; the numbers or weight and the type of fish on the vessel when detained; and the names and addresses of the persons on board.
Mr. Morris noted that the fishing Protocol codifies the best practices in relation to how fisher folk would be treated by both states. The envoy further stated that the Protocol upholds the national sovereignty of both countries, and would only be used when citizens found themselves in the areas in question.
The High Commissioner further stated that the signing of the Protocol by Barbados was in keeping with the management of the Caribbean Sea and its resources and the development of the blue economy. The blue economy refers to the use of marine resources for development.??He said that the Protocol would be made available to the public and encouraged fisher folk to review the document.