By Natario McKenziet
BAHAMIAN fishermen yesterday urged the Government to make public its Memorandum of Understandings (MOU’s) with the Dominican Republic, claiming that the number of Dominican fishing vessels spotted poaching in Bahamian waters in the past seven months has eclipsed sightings in past years. Adrian LaRoda, the Bahamian Commercial Fishers Alliance (BCFA) president, told Tribune Business that this past August had been one of the worst fishermen had ever seen.
“We have taken a bit of a beating. Fishermen in the southern Bahamas are not finding product and it is really very frustrating,” he told Tribune Business.
“You have some boats that have been out for the entire month of August just trying to scrap and see what they could bring back, but they had to come in because they are running low on resources.
“We are just not getting the product, and we don’t think that the product isn’t there, but we think the poachers are cleaning out the areas before we get there.” Mr LaRoda charged that Bahamian fishermen were seeing more more poachers now then ever before.
“The fishing community wants to know what was contained in the agreements signed with the Dominican Republic,” he added. “We want to know.
“We just can’t understand why we are seeing more vessels than ever before. If they have some agreement to allow boats from the Dominican Republic to come here and fish, someone needs to say something, but right now we cannot fathom how we can have more fishing vessels poaching in the past seven months than we have had in past years.
“We just can’t understand it. It’s not like we don’t see the boats; we see them and more of them. These poachers are getting so bold they are now setting their own traps in Bahamian waters. It’s tough. This has been the worst August that I have seen in a long time.”