In just over two weeks or so fishermen and Barbadians alike will know for sure whether or not they will again be able to taste the popular sea egg delicacy this season, and that decision will be made in the country’s best interest.
This assurance has come from Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Erskine Griffith, who has also called for an end to the practice of poaching during the sea egg closed season.
Minister Griffith, who was speaking to the media following the launch of a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-sponsored World Food Day competition, said that Government was currently examining the findings of the various missions which are conducted annually to ascertain the status of the adult sea egg population at the various sites. When this exercise is completed, the matter would be taken to Cabinet.
“Once we have looked at it, we will make a determination. But, be assured that you will get that information prior to October 1 because the present order expires on September 30. So, the decision to keep the season closed or open has to take place so that it can be effective October 1, one way or another.
“Rest assured that we will do what we consider best for Barbados; which ever way it is you can be sure that we would have done it in the best interest of Barbados,” the Minister underlined.
Making further reference to the country’s good, Minister Griffith addressed the issue of poaching, which he stressed “does not augur well for the future of the sea egg industry”. He again appealed for “persons to desist from poaching during the closed season and for the law enforcement agencies to enforce the legislation”.
With reference to suggestions that large amounts of unharvested adult sea eggs were feeding on corals and hindering young ones from developing, Senator Griffith stated that this was not in keeping with the feedback received from the divers, who were also fishermen, on whom they depended for evaluations across the various sites.
He, however, stressed that full examinations would be conducted before a final decision was made.
Section 46 of the Fisheries Act, and Regulation Three of the Fisheries (Management) Regulations, declared the period October 1, 2006 to September, 30, 2007, a closed season for the harvesting of sea eggs.