Five foreign nationals apprehended in waters off Great Isaacs, Bimini will be hauled before the Freeport Magistrate Court today facing charges of illegal diving and poaching said Department of Fisheries Assistant Fisheries Superintendent Clement Campbell.
Royal Bahamas Defence Force and Department of Fisheries officers arrested the group of Dominicans and Hondurans on Saturday December 6 between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
The arrest occurs two months after media reports revealed Cabinet's approval of harsher penalties and increased fines against poachers operating in Bahamian waters.
Also after the government engaged the Dominican government in discussions in an attempt to curb the long-established issue of poachers, mainly Dominicans, stripping Bahamian waters of hundreds of thousands of pounds in seafood.
Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources & Local Government V. Alfred Gray, who at the time had been attempting to secure Cabinet approval for a formal announcement of a policy that mandates only Bahamians can work on Bahamian vessels was quoted, "We are a country that must protect our borders, and we cannot depend on any other country to help us if they are not willing to do so.
" That is why the government has spent $200m to provide the vessels that would be required to prevent poaching, and wherever we can that is what we will do."
Captains and crew members engaged in poaching now face 'five fold' fines of $250,000 and $50,000 respectively from $50,000 and $5,000."
Hoping to curb the depletion of marine resources that include conch, crawfish (lobster) and Nassau Grouper Campbell urged residents to report any activity by locals and foreign nationals that are in violation of the Fisheries Laws of The Bahamas and to refrain from purchasing juvenile crawfish and other seafood, noting that with their help, it is easier to ensure the future of marine life for generations to come.
Published Monday, December 8, 2014