Illegal fisheries landing halt to spark 1,500 jobs boost


Tribune Business Editor

Bahamian economic output would expand by a further $65m, helping to create more than 1,500 jobs, if the largest categories of illegal and unreported fishing were converted into lawful landings.

These estimates were contained in an economic impact assessment commissioned last year by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), which assessed the contribution of both recreational and commercial fishing to Bahamian gross domestic product (GDP), and the fall-out from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing that occurs within this nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

“Including both recreational and commercial fishing in the economic impact total shows fishing supports 26,917 jobs and generates $544.2m in income, $1.2bn in value-added (contribution to GDP) and $2.2bn in total sale,” The Nature Conservancy said.

“Of this total, commercial fishing contributes 5.1 percent and recreational fishing contributes 14.9 percent, to Bahamian GDP. Combined, across both sectors, the entire fisheries value chain contributes 20 percent to Bahamian GDP.”

As for threats to this impact, The Nature Conservancy said: “Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) is much more than just fish stolen by foreign nationals. It includes legal catches that go unreported, including recreational fishing and subsistence fishing in The Bahamas’ case, and harvests that are unregulated. IUU does harm to the stocks and to Bahamian livelihoods.

“When fish are removed outside of any harvest control rules or other management measures, they deplete the stocks and impinge future productivity. The analysis estimates spiny lobster IUU harvests at 4.1m pounds of tails. The two largest of these categories were IUU harvests by foreign vessels and Bahamians, respectively, totaling 2.7m pounds of tails worth $45.1m.

“If those two highest categories of IUU landings were landed in The Bahamas legally, they would support 1,523 jobs and increase GDP by an additional $65.4m.” The statistics were referred to yesterday by Jomo Campbell, minister of agriculture and marine resources, during his House of Assembly contribution to the 2024-2025 Budget debate.

“It was estimated that the commercial fisheries value chain alone provides for some 6,001 jobs., some $208.6m in income, some $265m in value added contribution to GDP, and some $575.5m in total sales. The recreational fisheries value chain provides for some 20,916 jobs; $335.6m in value added contribution to GDP; and $1.7bn in total sales....

“I believe that we are sitting on a gold mine when it comes to our fisheries and marine resources in the country. We must continue to encourage young Bahamians to enter this industry and to assist them in any way possible to sustain their businesses.”

As for the fisheries industry’s performance in the 2023 calendar year, Mr Campbell said: “Fishery products and resources landings decreased by 0.5 percent by weight and a 12.5 percent decrease in the value of the products and resources landed in comparison to 2022.

“The decrease was due largely because of the decrease in crawfish/lobster landings and price per pound. Crawfish/lobster landings saw a decrease of some 4 percent in total landings in comparison to calendar year 2022 and a 14.4 percent decrease in the total value of crawfish/lobster landings compared to calendar year 2022.

“Further, as you may be aware, the crawfish/lobster fishery is the single largest fishery in The Bahamas. This fishery accounted for 80.7 percent of the total landings in calendar year 2023 by weight and 89.9 percent of the total value of all fishery products landed,” the minister continued.

“The export value of fishery products and resources exported from The Bahamas during calendar year 2023 was $96.8m. The figure represents a 0.4 percent increase over calendar year 2022. The value of crawfish/lobster exports from The Bahamas in calendar year 2023 was $93.6m accounting for some 96.7 percent of the total value of all fishery products and resources exports from The Bahamas in 2023.

“The export of frozen lobster tails continues to be The Bahamas’ number one edible commodity of export and remains a leader in the Caribbean.”



Porcupine says...

A lot of speculation and nonsense.
If total fisheries chain provides 20% of Bahamas GDP, and tourism provides 80%, what's left for the boasted about financial services industry.
Besides, The Nature Conservancy, with all its scientists on staff must see dramatic changes coming as the oceans rapidly heat up, become more acidic and we are already seeing a huge migration and decimation of various marine species around the world.
So, we think that The Bahamas is immune to these profound changes going on?
Get real!
I call this report unadulterated hogwash.

Posted 14 June 2024, 7:38 a.m. Suggest removal

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