Tuesday, June 12, 2018
By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE government will reduce the annual crawfish export limit from seven million to five million pounds, a Cabinet Minister told Parliament yesterday.
Renward Wells, minister of agriculture and marine resources Minister, said: "In consultation with primary stakeholders of the seafood processing and export sector, the amendment curtails the commercial annual export limit of seven million pounds of the resource to five million pounds.
"This harvest control amendment became necessary based on a 2017 stock assessment, and ensures a sustainable fisheries for future generations. My ministry is very concerned about the future of our fisheries stock, which is at risk for overfishing by non-nationals." This effectively represents a 28.6 percent drop in the export limit.
Mr Wells, during his contribution to the 2018-2019 budget debate, described The Bahamas' agricultural sector as being "in crisis". He explained: "Over the years we have lost more than our gains in agriculture. This trend cannot continue. Successive governments have incentivised unsustained strategies with unsatisfactory yields over time.
"We believe that now is the last real opportunity to salvage the sector, diversify our economy and minimise our risk of gaining access to food as a consequence of sudden global economic climates and/or political shocks."
Mr Wells said The Bahamas produces only eight percent of the food it consumes, and highlighted the issue of Crown Land abuse.
He stressed that the government will void any lease where it is determined that the land is being used for purposes other than farming. He noted that the Land Unit has executed 52 Crown Land leases, with 20 on Andros covering 144 acres; 18 on Abaco for 356 acres; and 15 on New Providence for 25 acres.