Tue | Nov 20, 2018

Enforcement real test of Fisheries Bill

Published:Monday | October 15, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Allow me to mention that the new Fisheries Bill passed last week has been in gestation for a record 23 years. How do I know? I participated in the very first discussion in summer 1995 with Fisheries Director Andre Kong and the Food and Agriculture Organization legal consultant heading the group.

While an article highlighted details that must be "tweaked", it is vital that this does not take away the considerable fact that the legal framework is vastly better. As I like to see it, we now have a real "heavy-duty vehicle to steer down the road instead of a bicycle with two flat tyres".

Sensible and greatly increased fines for serious breaches and for high-seas poaching of lobster and conch should help protect our valuable marine patrimony that belongs to every citizen.

Now, however, must come the next stage: bill enforcement. This is where the real capability of the Fisheries Division must be greatly improved in the immediate future, lest our time and funds be wasted.

KARL AIKEN

Senior Lecturer in Marine Zoology

UWI, Mona campus