Barbados Clamping Down On Illegal Fisheries.

Photo: US Navy. A Chinese trawler. Chinese trawlers have been cited on numerous occasions for fishing in territorial waters that belong to other countries.
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The Barbados Coastguard and US Maritime Law officials held a seminar to explain their work, with special emphasis on clamping down on illegal fishing, as well as drug smuggling and human trafficking.

They spoke mostly in generalities and did not explain whether the issue of illegal fishing was mainly a local one, or involved foreign vessels trawling within Barbados waters, but there is no doubt that illegal fishing will lead to overfishing, which will harm the livelihood of legitimate local fisherman.

Members of the local media got the opportunity to learn about the importance of protecting the region’s maritime space with special emphasis on illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF) yesterday, during Exercise Tradewinds 2024 (EXTW24) Maritime Media Day.

The event was held at the Barbados Coast Guard (BCG) Pelican Base, located on the Mighty Grynner Highway, where they experienced first-hand some of the Maritime Track aspects of EXTW24.

Lead US Maritime Law Enforcement Planner, J7 Directorate, US South Command, Commander Anita Williams, and Lead Barbados Maritime Planner, Barbados Coast Guard, Sublieutenant Sasha Marshall, pointed out that their role was to plan, organise and implement the strategies of this year’s EXTW24 maritime training.

The training is aimed at teaching and reinforcing how to safeguard Barbados and the region’s maritime domain, while ensuring the free flow of commerce and upholding the rule of law on the high seas.

In explaining the rationale for the training, Commander Williams stressed: “In an era defined by interconnectedness and global trade, our role as guardians of the maritime realm has never been more critical. As members of the Coast Guard of all Caribbean nations, we stand at the forefront of maritime security, entrusted with a solemn duty to protect life [and] property in the marine environment.

“Tradewinds underscores our dedication to this noble cause, as we work hand in hand with our international partners to combat threats, such as piracy, illegal fishing, and smuggling. This year, we are proud to bring our newly formed track to Barbados to exploit illegal unreported and unregulated fishing activities…. Barbados embraced the training of IUUF and understood it to be much more than taking too many fish. It also encompasses a much broader issue that we all face in the region, which is human trafficking, and narcotics smuggling.”

Elaborating on the importance of the new track, Sublieutenant Marshall said: “IUUF is an insidious practice that threatens our marine resources and the livelihood of our fishermen. Long-term IUUF fishing can have devastating socio-economic impacts on the countries affected. Having recognised the importance of combating IUU Fishing, planners thought it necessary to give this track its own component for the first time this year.”

Source: Barbados GIS.
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