Shadow minister Goldray Ewing has welcomed the opening of lobster season but said that the government has to step up its enforcement measures.
Ewing said the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) opposition is disappointed in the lip service being paid in the ministry of environment and home affairs to the department of environment and maritime affairs, which performs crucial roles in managing the TCI’s environment and natural resources.
Shadow minister Goldray Ewing
“Whilst we welcome the opening of the lobster season, we lament what the catch may be -- having full knowledge that there are an increasing number of poachers on the Banks while the season remains closed for local fishermen. The government has to turn its attention to providing the Department with the much needed resources to police our waters. The boats are now inadequate and prove no match for the high powered boats used by the poachers,” Ewing said.
As an immediate need, he called for an allocation for the upgrading of the existing vessels and for a real, joint effort between DEMA and the Marine Branch of the police.
“Our fishing Industry remains crucial to many persons and communities. A few months ago, a question was posed to the Minister asking the value of the Industry. I am now calling on the minister of home affairs to ensure that this study is conducted so that this government can be convinced -- as we already are -- as to the importance and possible benefits that can be derived from a focus on this natural industry. We believe that this industry can once again become very vibrant,” Ewing concluded