Letter of the day | Fishing for improvement
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I went fishing in Florida recently and was impressed with what they are doing there to sustain fishing in the state. We fished on the pier at the mouth of the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean. There, you have the same variety of fish that we catch in our waters. You pay a small fee to go on to the pier.
Uniformed rangers keep the pier clean. Hundred of anglers fish on this pier. What impressed me most is that the fishermen on the pier (including nearly 20 Jamaicans I saw while there) comply with the rules and regulations. Simply, they fear the law. If you are caught violating you pay a hefty fine on the spot.
You are allowed to catch certain size fish; entitled to only catch one Red Fish and if the Red Fish is over a certain length you have to throw it back into the water. If you catch more that than one Red Fish you throw it back into the water or give it to someone. Two Red Snappers I landed had to be thrown back because they were deemed small. If I was in Jamaica they would be 'friers'.
I observed an elderly man fishing with two rods. He sat and occasionally walked away from his rods. It turned out that the elderly man was a game/fish warden in plain clothes mingling with and watching anglers.
The National Environment and Planning Agency, and the Fisheries Department - the two agencies responsible for our wildlife and fishing industry - don't appear to give a hoot and only offer a bag of talk. Rules and regulation are non-existent or are not enforced.
A friend told me he made numerous calls to the Fisheries Division to report men offloading conch out of season on a beach in his area, and he got the runaround. When he finally got someone he gave credible, timely information and nothing happened.
I believe that the fishing industry in Jamaica is going south. We need accountability, rules and regulations with stiff penalties. We as a people are not inherently lawless. We just push the buttons as far as they can go because there is no accountability. Let us change this.
Authnel S. Reid