No crawfish industry ‘in five years’ without action
Guardian Business Editor
Published: Oct 23, 2013
The lobster fishing industry may no longer exist “five years down the road” unless the government takes serious steps to address poaching by both Bahamians and foreign fisherman, according to a prominent member of the Spanish Wells community.
Crawfishermen on the island, famous for its lobster industry, are finding their catch is down “five to seven percent” this year over last year, however prices are holding steady, with last year’s prices at around an average of $11 to $12 per pound of product, businessman and former Chief Councillor Abner Pinder told Guardian Business.
Notwithstanding this assessment, Pinder suggested that the crawfishing industry faces “a serious problem” in light of poaching out of season by Bahamians, and both in and out of season by foreign poachers.
“It’s down some here in Spanish Wells, but it’s not down like what I’ve been reading in the papers.
“The total catch is down five to seven percent but it took them (crawfishermen) a week to 10 days longer to come up with the amount they came up with. Normally they come home in August after three to 3.5 weeks.
“This time some of them stayed out 4.5 weeks to get close to the same amount. There’s a serious problem, no doubt about it, and if it keeps up 5 years down the road I don’t think we’ll have an industry. I’m not finding fault with the PLP, the FNM is just as bad; no government in my lifetime has been able to get the defense force to do its job.”
Pinder said that many fisherman have complained that they found their crawfish “condos” were empty when they met them once the season opened, indicating they had already been fished out of season.
“A lot of what they were complaining about is Bahamians out there spearing before the season began. That still goes on and no one wants to do anything about it.”
Pinder said he does not see the issue as one of a lack of resources.
“If the will to stop it was there it could be done. We have numerous laws in this country which are a waste of time to keep them in the books, because none of them are enforced.”