The death of Bermuda fishing
Please allow me this opportunity to comment on the Government’s Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme proposal. This consists of two documents covering a variety of topics relating to economics and use of the marine environment.
The one area I wish to address is the decision to completely close 20 per cent of our marine environment from any form of fishing. What has not been said is that this 20 per cent is the area which commercial and recreational fishermen use to catch fish and bait.
The Government is essentially shutting down our right to fish in our own Bermuda waters. This will result in our commercial fishermen losing their businesses and recreational fishermen losing their traditional right to fish. My son is one of those who will lose his livelihood. He will be no longer able to do the work he loves and provide for his family.
He is not alone. The irony is that “Goal 1” in the documents produced is to “facilitate sustainable fisheries”. What a joke! The information provided talks of “growing” the fishing industry and “obtaining investment”, but this appears to be for larger-scale, offshore fishing boats, many of which will come from overseas.
Perhaps, this in time will result in the overfishing of our offshore waters, resulting in a decline in the world’s pelagic fish stocks. Sad to see everyday, hard-working Bermudians sacrificed for some global initiative.
The documents talk about the challenges facing our coastal areas, bays and mangroves. It lists the building of the airport, the existing airport dump, run-off from our roads, the use of pesticides, the impact of cruise ships, boat moorings and the development of docks, etc, along our shoreline. It may also mention the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences research vessel, the R/V Atlantic Explorer, which churns up tonnes of sediment each time it goes up and down Ferry Reach.
Surprisingly, little is said about the impact of fishermen, yet they are the ones paying the price. The Government should be consulting and supporting, listening to and helping our fishermen, not using them to look good on the global stage. Sad.