Solving National Problems – a solution to the fisheries problem

Walter Blackman

Walter Blackman

“Trini, I’m a born Barbadian, I don’t like to fight But when it comes to the occasion, man, I stick fuh muh right

You put in a twelve-cents meat bone, you worse than a liceI gine give you a word of advice, “Take your meat out muh rice!”

Lord Kitchener

Today, Barbados spends almost a billion dollars importing food from outsiders. Should an unforeseen, random event occur to create a stranglehold on our external supply of food for an extended period of time, Barbadians would be exposed to the real, dangerous threat of starvation.

As a nation, we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the risks that food insecurity breeds and encourages. However, before we can embark upon a trek leading to the achievement of food security, we will need to embrace the tools provided by technology, and we will have to cultivate the right attitudes, and create the right incentives and rewards in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, and shipbuilding.

Since the economy of Barbados is in serious disequilibrium, government policy, by definition, must seek to encourage and pursue national projects which can achieve the following objectives:

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Barbados Should Tell T&T To ‘Go To Hell’ Too!

Each country is entitled to the ‘exclusive’ rights within their 200 mile EXCLUSIVE economic zone. Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and most other regional states are party to the Law of the Sea Treaties that provide for those rights. Barbados has no right to give the impression that Barbadian fishermen have any right AT ALL to venture into that exclusive zone without penalty. In the EEZ, the coastal state has the sole right of exploitation of the resources contained therein under international law of the sea treaties to which we are all party.

So when fishermen do so, let it be clear that they do so at their own peril. I don’t agree that anyone should be defending it. Unless and until CARICOM has the political will to come up with a Common Fisheries Regime and countries agree on the shared use of common resources (like the sea) Barbadian fishermen need to respect other peoples space.

Flying fish are a migratory fish species and while they spawn in the waters off Barbados, they migrate to the warmer waters off Tobago as they get older. Barbadian fishermen understand that and follow the fish to their habitats, but that happens to be the coastal space of another state and they have no right under any law to do so. They can and will be arrested and noone can fault the Trinis for it except for sensationalism purposes because we have allowed for too many years, the notion to prevail that we went to the Arbitral Tribunal over fishing boundaries when in actual fact that was little more than a secondary issue. More importantly the finding of the tribunal re the fishing issue was that the two countries should come to some common agreement on the matter. So there exists no framework to allow Bajan fishermen into Trinidadian waters.

Lisa R. Elcock

Flying fish - Wikipedia

It was not too long ago when what appeared to be all of Jamaica dropped like a ton of bricks on Barbados.  Not to be left out, Guyana, St. Vincent and other neighbours had a lot say when Barbados sought to enforced its sovereign right to protect its borders.

The recent arrest of Barbadian fisherman by T&T authorities serves to remind us that Barbados finds itself in a very lonely place in Caricom. To present the blunt argument that the Barbadian fishermen perpetrated an illegal act is to be dishonest in the argument. This longstanding T&T/Barbados fishing agreement straddles both BLP and DLP governments and leads one to the conclusion that there is no desire on the part of T&T to close an agreement. There are much bigger fish to fry in a pan which is full of oil.

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