|Authored by:||Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources|
|Source:||Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources|
|Date:||October 7, 2021|
The Bahamas joined 35 other countries in becoming a signatory to the International Declaration on Transnational Organised Crime in the Global Fishing Industry this past Monday when Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources & Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting signed the document on behalf of The Bahamas.
The non-legally binding declaration commits the support of The Bahamas to a number of resolutions coming out of the previous meetings of Ministers responsible for Fisheries focusing on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IIU Fishing), hosted by Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the fisheries arm of CARICOM. The declaration calls for, among other things, the recognition that countries are dependent on the sea and its resources and the opportunities it holds for the economy, food and welling being of their respective populations. The declaration calls for the support of healthy and thriving fishing industries based on fair competition and the sustainable use of the ocean.
The agreement also calls for working towards the fulfilment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in relation to Goal 14 on “Life Below Water” and Goal 16 on “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”.
Most importantly, the declaration calls for the world community to recognise the existence of transnational organised crime in the global fishing industry and that this activity has a serious effect on the economy, distort markets, harms the environment and undermines human rights. These activities also include crimes committed through the whole fisheries supply and value chain, which includes illegal fishing, corruption, tax and customs fraud, money laundering, embezzlement, document fraud and human trafficking.
Recognising the significance of the agreement, Minister Clay Sweeting noted the historic declaration as “a long awaited point in fostering international support for an issue that has been plaguing our marine environment for generations. The Bahamas will continue to support these efforts and will lobby our regional neighbours to join in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities.” The fishing grounds of The Bahamas are constantly under threat of IUU fishing from neighbouring countries, most notably The Dominican Republic. Minister Sweeting affirmed his commitment to working closely with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to secure the support of neighbouring governments in securing our marine sector for the benefit and use of Bahamian fishers.
Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources & Local Government Hon. Clay Sweeting signs the International Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry on Monday, 4th October, 2021.