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The Billfish Foundation is pleased Bahamian government is responding in a positive manner
Feb 27, 2010 - 9:57:10 AM

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Town Meeting on tuna netting issues, at the BNT in Freeport , Monday, March 1st

FT . LAUDERDALE, Fla. , USA -- The Billfish Foundation (TBF) is pleased the Bahamian government is taking a quick response in addressing the issue of whether to permit the use of purse seine netting gear in its waters.     

The concern began mid-February when two brothers in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island , wanting to start a commercial Bahamian purse seine netting operation for yellowfin tuna, attempted to obtain permits to begin operating much to the frustration of conservation groups and sports fishing interests.

“The negative response from anglers, captains, mates, tournament directors and conservation associations was immediate and forceful,” said TBF president Ellen Peel.

TBF, a non-profit association for the conservation of billfish, sent a letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Lawrence Cartwright, detailing the egregious error of permitting purse seiners to operate in their waters.

            The purse seine style of net hangs vertically and employs rings at the bottom in which a rope is fed through. As the boat deploys the net wrapping it around a school of fish the rope is pulled closing the net, not allowing the targeted fish, nor the trapped billfish, mammals, sea turtles and other species to escape below, adding to overfishing.

“In response the Bahamian government issued a statement that it is ‘not minded’ to permit the use of the netting gear and in so doing acknowledged the economic importance of sportfishing to their tourism industry and the threat such net gear could render to their marine species.”

Peel added that the robust sportfishing tourism economy driven by the availability of marlin and sailfish in the Bahamian waters would collapse if there were no billfish to catch.

“The Bahamas took the lead in 1977 to ban longlining in its waters, many years before Florida banned nets, and it now boosts an outstanding marine ecosystem.

“Working together good conservation pays off economically and ecologically.”            

Town Meeting in Freeport , Monday to address the netting issue

Though the minister issued his opposition statement to permitting netting, TBF has learned the government, through the Grand Bahamas Regional Committee of the Bahamas National Trust, will host a town meeting in Freeport to discuss the netting of tuna in its waters.

It will take place Monday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the BNT’s Rand Nature Center on E. Settlers Way. 

For more information phone 242-352-5438.        

Each individual wishing to speak will be allowed five minutes to present their information to the government representatives.  For those who cannot attend the meeting they can send their comments to the Honorable Larry Cartwright, Minister of Agriculture & Marine Resources at Larrycartwright@bahamas.gov and copy to the Bahamas National Trust on their website at: www.bnt.bs/contact_us.php.

With its world headquarters based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. , The Billfish Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations worldwide. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, the organization works for solutions that are good for billfish, not punitive to recreational anglers and good for the local economy. The TBF web site can be found at billfish.org and phone number is 800-438-8247


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