Fishermen: We're just scratching surface on our exports potential


Tribune Business Reporter

FISHERMEN yesterday backed a Cabinet Minister's goal of doubling Bahamian fisheries exports to near-$200 million, telling Tribune Business: "We don't fish our ocean, only our banks."

Keith Carroll, the Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance's (BCFA) vice-president, agreed that this nation was only scratching the surface of its fisheries potential. "We don't fish our ocean; only our banks," he said.

"From Abaco to Inagua is our territorial waters. We have tuna, sword fish and all other kinds of other fish in these waters that we could export. We need to look at other types of fish and not just concentrate on lobster, grouper and snapper. You have fish pass through our waters and Americans in the windward passage are just waiting to catch them."

Mr Carroll added that many of these fish species found in Bahamian waters end up in the restaurants of major local resorts, but are not caught by the country's fishermen. He said the reason Bahamian fishermen do not exploit the likes of tuna and swordfish is due to the controversy surrounding long-line fishing methods.

Long-line fishing involves setting steel line, usually for several miles, with baited hooks every few feet. However, Mr Carroll said more jobs could be created in the fisheries sector - and more revenue generated - via exports if the Bahamas was to exploit other fish resources.

Earlier this week Renward Wells, minister of agriculture and marine resources, said he had set himself the "goal" of doubling the Bahamas' annual $90 million fisheries exports.

He added that this nation's fisheries exports - $70 million of which are spiny lobster and crawfish, and the remaining $20 million conch, stone crab and snappers - represented an important avenue to increase the Bahamas' foreign currency earnings. Mr Wells also suggested there is the potential to catch other fish such as tuna and wahoo for export.


TheMadHatter says...

Trying to create a reason to sign up to the new EU slave agreements. Sad. Very sad.

Posted 6 April 2018, 5:26 p.m. Suggest removal

bcitizen says...

Conch like bonefish is far more valuable to the Bahamas from a tourism point of view. We are one of the few places in the world that still have wild conch populations. The exportation of it is just beyond dumb. Want to taste/eat conch? Come visit the Bahamas period the end. Talking crap about no plastic while exporting a species that is endangered around the world is retarded from an environmental point of view.

Posted 6 April 2018, 5:33 p.m. Suggest removal

Porcupine says...

I agree 100%.

Posted 6 April 2018, 6:08 p.m. Suggest removal

sheeprunner12 says...

Agreed ........ there should be an export ban on conch NOW

Posted 7 April 2018, 10:01 a.m. Suggest removal

TheMadHatter says...

Maybe this why the govt enforces thru statistical scaling - the D average in schools. Want to ensure we never run out of qualified MPs.

Posted 6 April 2018, 6:31 p.m. Suggest removal

ThisIsOurs says...

Deep sea fishing is one of THE most dangerous occupations in the world. Please go into it with eyes wide open and not pie in the sky visions of more 0's on a sheet of paper

Posted 6 April 2018, 7:13 p.m. Suggest removal

sheeprunner12 says...

Agreed ........ you need more than a Boston whaler and fish pots to fish the Atlantic ......... You need a million dollar outfit to compete with the longliners and Americans, Japs and Chinese big rigs.

Posted 7 April 2018, 10 a.m. Suggest removal

happyfly says...

This place has no hope so long as the commercial fishing industry is competing with the tourism industry for the same dwindling natural resources. You got foreigners coming here and spending thousands of dollars a day, day in day out, to go and catch a wahoo or a grouper. Versus wholesale obliterating the biodiversity for a couple dollars a pound to a bunch of international middlemen. That is who really pushes for the exploitation of our fisheries. International brokers that want to pay Bahamian Fisherman $3 a pound and sell to the Japanese for $25 a pound. That is who lobbies our government. And don't forget the last time we got persuaded to let in long lining. Tens of thousands of sharks killed for their fins and a national outrage.

Posted 7 April 2018, 10:26 a.m. Suggest removal

happyfly says...

What the h.. is wrong with this new government. They came in on global warming and eco this and alternative that and all they talking about is a new oil refinery and raping the ocean some more

Posted 7 April 2018, 10:29 a.m. Suggest removal

sheeprunner12 says...

Our 200 mile offshore economic zone is already been pillaged by others ........ smh

Posted 8 April 2018, 11:57 a.m. Suggest removal

killemwitdakno says...

Are they going to boost the fish in the water first?

Posted 9 April 2018, 4:09 a.m. Suggest removal

truetruebahamian says...

Long line fishing is destructive. We should know better and act on what we learn from other peoples tragic mistakes.

Posted 9 April 2018, 8:47 a.m. Suggest removal

Dawes says...

AS always we think short term and not long term. Yes we can go out there and fish the oceans, but once the fish are gone, then what? Why not do as has been mentioned before and look at banning the export of items we would all like for years to come. In addition encourage fish farming on the islands so that we can then export these fish. We have been spoilt in Bahamas due to our abundance in seafood, however we are getting close to the time when there won't be much left. Anyone who has fished for the last 30-50 years can tell you how much harder it is to get good sized groupers, conchs and crawfish then it used to be, and it will only get worse.

Posted 9 April 2018, 9:46 a.m. Suggest removal

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