Brenton Henry reports for the Daily Observer
ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Concerns over Antigua & Barbuda’s fisheries resources are receiving attention from heads of the sub-regional grouping, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer announced, even as he pledged support for Japan over its plan to continue hunting whales.
In recent weeks, concerns ranging from over-fishing to fishing methods have raged among industry stakeholders who are also calling for a closed season for harvesting lobster.
Much of the blame for what is going on in the fisheries sector has been placed squarely at the feet of the government, which has been accused of not doing enough to regulate the sector.
Nonetheless, Spencer has described what’s going on in the local fisheries sector as “an area of major concern.”
“These are matters which are constantly being discussed. As a matter of fact it came up at our OECS heads meeting; the whole question of how we deal with our marine resources,” he said.
He said not only was the issue being discussed but also that it was “on the front burner.”
“Certainly at the level of the OECS we know that Antigua & Barbuda has not been able to fully and effectively address that issue but it is critical going forward that we do so.”
Spencer said his administration is aware of the fragility of the fisheries resources and the need to have proper structures in place to safeguard them.
The Fisheries Division recently put the fishing community on alert over the impact that spear and gill-net fishing has on the Parrotfish population here.