The Nevis Island Administration has emphasized that fisherfolk play a vital role in the management of marine protected areas:
The successful establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in Nevis depended on the full cooperation of the island’s fishers. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Cooperatives on Nevis Dr. Kelvin Daly expressed that view, when he delivered remarks at the Marine Protected Awareness workshop on October 31, 2012, at the Ingle Blackett Conference Room in Charlestown.
The day long awareness workshop was hosted by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)/CEP, Caribbean Marine Protected Area Network (CaMPAM) in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA). Participants were drawn from the Tourism, Historical and Conservation and Fisheries Sectors and the Physical Planning Department.
“The MPA will not be a success if we do not get the full cooperation and support from the Fishers because without enforcement of each one guarding each one it makes no point. Even if we get the Coast Guard on hand and a vessel from the Department of Fisheries, the Fishers know exactly who is doing what and when.
“It is in your best interest therefore, not to say be a snitch but to protect your livelihood. It is all about your livelihood and if you allow persons to intervene and reduce your livelihood, then it is your fault. We cannot be everywhere for everybody but you are out there more than everybody else and therefore you would know who are the interlopers and who is breaking the law. So this project’s success depends squarely on you,” he said.
Dr. Daly pointed to the island of Dominica which he said had experienced great success with its Fishers. He stated that they looked out for each other and ensured that persons obeyed the laws.
“The pressures on the fisheries have been significant over the years and have been growing steady as persons are becoming more efficient at catching fish. Persons are investing heavily in all sorts of electronic devices to make their jobs easier and getting bigger and faster boats. So we have a lot more persons going fishing and so the pressure is on, especially on the near shore fisheries.
“MPAs came about because we are trying to rescue some of the inshore fisheries from over exploitation and so it did not happen in isolation. There is a problem and one of the solutions to that problem is the establishment of Marine Protected Areas,” he said.
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