Jacks and pot fish will still be among fishermen’s catches when the new Fisheries Regulations become law.
But, it will not be business as usual for fishermen, as the regulations which were approved by Cabinet last week outline a number of changes designed to meet the needs of all those in the sector, while ensuring its sustainability.
“We have had numerous consultations with the fisherfolk, and we believe that we have come to some agreement that now best reflects the mood, not just of the fishing industry, but that which is sustainable and to take the industry forward,” said Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey.
He was delivering the feature address during the reopening of the Payne’s Bay Fish Market. Also in attendance were Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, and other Government officials.
The new regulations allow for seine net fishing, but only for persons catching jacks. “We will not allow seine net fishing for chubbing. The fish that are under threat are the chubs…, but we will not stop it for jacking,” the Minister pointed out, noting a video would be done by fishermen to highlight the difference of seine fishing for the two types of fish.
Under the new regulations, pot fishing will also be allowed, but fishermen will be required to register with the Ministry and have licences to facilitate the proper regulation and monitoring of the industry going forward.
Mr. Humphrey cautioned that the traditional practice of fishermen “troubling someone else’s pot” would also become illegal under the new regulation.
The Minister stated that this would be supported by the Barbados Coast Guard receiving the necessary “teeth” to enforce the law for those in the fishing industry.
In addition, the new regulations will allow authorities to deem an area closed for fishing as deemed necessary, and have open and close seasons.
Mr. Humphrey added that the new regulations would also put Barbados in line with requirements to export fish to American states, with the inclusion of a clause giving the undertaking to monitor the treatment of mammals, such as dolphins and other fish that produce milk.
“These new regulations are extremely comprehensive, they are progressive, [and] they were done through consultation,” the Minister said, noting that a balance was struck between all parties.
Mr. Humphrey said over the next few months, there will be intense consultation with the public to explain the new regulations.
These, he said, would be reviewed in another three to four years to see if they need to be strengthened or relaxed. The regulations are currently before the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and are expected to be legislated by early next year.