|Fisheries enforcement in Bimini|
|Wednesday, 16 June 2010 11:49|
I just wanted to write a quick message to emphasize how valuable and important it is for Bimini to increase it's ability to enforce the Bahamian Fisheries laws around these islands. As important as the busy summer-season is to the local economy here, the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day (US) also mark a period of essentially unregulated exploitation of Bimini's fisheries. Bimini is regarded as one of the best sport-fishing destinations in the world, yet we have no system in place to sustain this critical industry over the long-term.
I don't mean to suggest that all, or even the majority, of sport-fishing boats are breaking the rules, but I can confidently say that I see at least one boat every single day doing something illegal here.
Catch limits for both pelagic and demersal fish are commonly disregarded, catch- and size-limits for conch are ignored, and the 'closed season' for lobster is seen by many as irrelevant. An unfortunate minority of people visiting Bimini have begun to see this island as an "anything goes" type of environment, which will quickly prove unsustainable unless these practices are curbed. In a more brazen example of this problem, recently a visitor to North Bimini posted video of himself online, laughing and shooting bonefish with a bow-and-arrow on the flats of Bimini (The video has since been removed.)
With the absence of a Fisheries Officer or Patrol Boat on Bimini, surely a few individuals from the Police Dept. could walk through the marinas towards the end of the day doing some basic checks of what the boats have brought in. All it would take is a few weekends of enforcement to get the word out that Bimini is no longer accepting of these unlawful practices.
More pro-active enforcement in the short-term will lead to a more productive sport-fishing industry in the long-term.
Have a good day.
South Bimini, Bahamas
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