In Coastal Communities

When we spoke with Wil Maheia today he shared that one of the restrictions has been very tough for residents to deal with in that southern coastal community. Maheia says that there are many families who depend on fishing to feed their families – these are persons, he says, who fish only for household consumption, so they wouldn’t have a license to operate. But new laws have prevented them from doing so. Today he shared their concerns – hoping that some kind of consideration may be given.

Wil Maheia, Leader, BTV

“In Punta Gorda not everyone has a commercial fishing license because of the process, so a lot of people are prevented from going out to fishing and so that has been the number one complaint. People are saying, hey, if we are at sea and there is no one around us then we are safer there than being in town where people are around you. So, the complaints are more what we would call recreational fishing and for a lot of people it is what we would call sustainable fishing because people go out not for recreation because people go out to fish for food their family. So, they are hoping that the government will reconsider those who don’t go out to recreate but to get food for their families and out at sea it is pretty safe and no one around you. So, maybe they can restrict it to two or three people to a boat depend on the size of the boat. If your boat is twenty foot long then you can have three or four people in there but if it is fifteen foot long then only two people in there. But a lot of people go out because they want to get food to be able to feed their families. A lot of people in the south here depend on the sea for food and protein. So, that is the number one concern for the people who live on the coast. And hope that the AG and the government hear where these people are coming from. It is is not recreational fishing; it is fishing for food.””

The Fisheries Department has announced a set of rules in respect of licenses for which applications will now be taken by appointment.

Channel 5