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Rbdf Arrests Dominican Poachers With Huge Catch

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The Dominican poachers' vessel (GERCHARD II) arriving at HMBS Coral Harbour base.

By SYANN THOMPSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

sthompson@tribunemedia.net

Dominican poachers who were arrested by Royal Bahamas Defence Force officials and the US Coast Guard this week were carrying some 30,000 pounds of illegally harvested marine products.

On Wednesday, HMBS Cascarilla under the command of Senior Lieutenant Samantha Hart along with the US Coast Guard arrested 17 suspected poachers on board the 76-foot Gerchard II in waters near the Cochinos Bank. The seized boat came into port yesterday at the RBDF Coral Harbour Base. 

Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard told reporters at a press conference the poachers will have to face the brunt of the law.

“The vessel contained a catch estimated at 30,000 lbs of marine products illegally harvested. The RBDF expects to have the boat and its catch in port at the Coral Harbour Base by noon today (Thursday). Officers from our enforcement unit of the Department of Marine Resources will be on hand to process the catch,” Mr Pintard said.

The Tribune understands that the catch is worth in excess of a quarter million dollars in the Bahamian market and even more on the international market.

The Bahamas National Trust has described poaching by commercial fishermen from the Dominican Republic as “the greatest single threat to Bahamian seafood resources”. Mr Pintard believes the country has suffered “substantial” losses to its economy due to illegal poaching based on previous vessels that have been interdicted in Bahamian waters, but he says the government plans on using strict legislation to crack down on the crime.

“We assure the public and in particular, the fishing community that the government of The Bahamas will prosecute these offences to the fullest extent. Our work to the Fisheries Act, while ongoing, will be coming to Parliament very soon and will include provisions that deal with these types offences severely,” he said. 

Mr Pintard previously announced that boats seized from Dominican poachers are being distributed to Bahamian fishermen affected by Hurricane Dorian. There are 36 vessels in total, some vessels are expected go to those in the sponging industry and five vessels are allocated to the national dive programme to increase Bahamian divers in the sector and others to fishermen.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 3 days ago

By law the vessels seized from foreign fishermen caught poaching in our waters should be sold at public auction at the earliest possible time. And arrangements should be made for the perishable marine products illegally harvested to be quickly processed and packaged for cold storage pending sale at public auction. Law enforcement does not have the ability to give these seized assets to whomever they choose.

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The_Oracle 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Government is intrinsically lazy and while law provides for the process most in government are not acquainted with the proper procedure. Meanwhile no mention of the disposition of the catch........

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SP 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Blah, blah, blah, blah. The Dominicans will get a tongue lashing, a sissy slap on the wrists from some Bahamian judge, sent back home and they will be back in few days doing the same thing again!

The Bahamas has perfected asinine stupidity beyond any imagination.

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Porcupine 3 weeks, 1 day ago

"The Bahamas National Trust has described poaching by commercial fishermen from the Dominican Republic as “the greatest single threat to Bahamian seafood resources” Absolutely correct. Right next to the Bahamas National Trust and the Bahamian government as the next greatest threats.. The difference being that we don't pay the Dominican Republic to protect our resources. The Bahamas National Trust is basically non-existent when it comes to protecting resources. No enforcement, no backbone, no leadership, always crying poor mouth, seemingly no concern, except when they're interviewed by the media. Now, the 150 million dollar boondoggle with the RBDF boats, whose ostensible purpose was to stop poaching and enforce our immigration laws has been shown for what it was. As if, there isn't a much more cost effective way to patrol our waters. Get real. We want others to protect what we seemingly have no regard for ourselves.

Bahamians, in general, show little to no interest or understanding of our laws. Nobody's gonna tell them that God didn't put this here for us. And, nobody is going to take bread out of my family's mouth. Any family island has piles of undersized conch shells. We take anything that swims. We throw our trash and dump our oil into these waters with seemingly no regard.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 1 day ago

And an awful lot of oil blown from Equinor/Statoil's storage facility in Eastern Grand Bahama, and leaked from Shell's sea to shore oil transfer facilities at BPL's Clifton Pier plant, and contained in the illegal ballast/bilge discharges from Carnival's cruise ships, etc., not to mention all of the shiit dumped into our pristine waters by Carnival's cruise ships, have only made the situation much worse for marine life in our territorial seas.

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