Friday, July 01, 2011

More evidence and denial about how threatened our fisheries are.

Some people on the street are saying that the people representing our Fisheries Ministry don't have a clear understanding of what the words "sustainable use" mean. I don't totally agree with them as I know there are some very good people working at our Fisheries Ministry. Anyway, according to a definition I pulled from the net:
Sustainability is sometimes known as the capacity to endure. In ecology, the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions.
With that in mind and after you read my blog from last week (click here) you can clearly see how the there seems to be a problem with the words "sustainable use". Today we see an article published in Antigua's Daily Observer where once again our fisheries department stands firm in their stance that all is well and the fishermen, divers, snorkelers and consumers have it all wrong. Despite all of these parties agreeing that the fish stocks are extremely deminished, our government's fisheries department says there is no shortage at all. Here is the article:

Bad weather and poor catch affect fish supply

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One month into the Atlantic Hurricane season, some fishermen are reporting that bad weather is forcing them to remain on land and as a consequence there is a shortage of fresh fish at the market.
Seasoned fisherman Gerald Price said many of the fishermen have either been passing the time for most of the week playing games or doing repairs to their boats.
“For the first in a long time there is no fish in the market, not even a scale. Housewives are not likely to get fresh fish for the rest of the week going into next week,” Price told The Daily OBSERVER.
It would appear that it is not just the rough seas and high winds which are affecting the catch. According to Dale Henry, a veteran of more than 30 years, there is just not many fish to be caught any more.
“There’s scarcity. We are going further, deeper and the situation remains the same. Since year before the last, we have difficulty in finding fish.”
Henry said he went out this week even though there were 8 to 10-foot swells.
“Occasionally, sometimes, we have a good catch. But 90 per cent of the time we are just covering expenses. We don’t know if it’s climate change or global warming. Our fisheries is not doing so much research. They are just doing a guessing game out there right now,” Henry surmised.
A check with Antigua Fisheries, however, revealed there was no shortage of fish there. General Manager Mavis George was unable to say just how much fish is purchased on a weekly basis from local fishermen, but she indicated there was no lack of fish at the department.
“We are not out of stock, but a lot of boats are down. She said large vessels such as those operated by Andy Roberts, which bring in thousands of pounds of fish are currently not operational.
The problem, she said, is that many people prefer snappers and when they are told there is none, they automatically assume there is no fish.
The conditions for fishing are not likely to improve any time soon. In fact, Meteorologist Orvin Paige said there would be some increased wind conditions across the islands associated with a high-pressure system. This will lead to worsening sea conditions which will make it difficult for fishermen to ply their trade.
He indicated that a tropical wave east of the Windward Islands would bring showers which could move into the vicinity of the Leeward Islands, including Antigua, over the next 24 hours. This will make it difficult for persons over the open waters in terms of visibility.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)