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Bahama Journal: Out Island Fishermen
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Posted by:Aug 10th 2004, 05:19:19 pm
Fig Tree News TeamAugust 10, 2004 - 11:16
The Irony of Fishermen In the Bahamas Family Islands

With the world swiftly evolving into one global village, Bahamians had better start recognizing the financial generating opportunities right at our doorsteps.

The crawfish season is at hand.

Yes, corn will be in Egypt for months now.

This is a time when communities in most of the Family Islands flourish, simply because the fishermen return from trips with sizeable incomes and they thus have spending power.

A good percentage of the young and older Bahamian men who depend so much on the season that runs from August through March the following year, make ample use of this period year after year. Spanish Wells of course is the epitome of an area that maximizes the potential of the sea.

Quite a few millionaires and those almost at that point, reside in Spanish Wells, grateful for a bountiful living made from the sea. The Abaconians and in recent times, the Long Islander have been taking full advantage of the crawfish seasons as well. Throughout those communities one can see wonderful physical signs of funds been put to good use.

We salute those sea goers and urge them to come up with ideas to take the fishing industry in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas to even greater levels. Perhaps the time is right for the Government of the Bahamas through the Ministry of Fisheries to start focusing on expanding the industry via the canning of seafood and the processing of package frozen seafood.

We can do it.

It is done throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia. We can do it, with just the right initiative.

The view here is that at some point the country needs to start making great efforts to enlarge both the fishing and the farming industries. The government should take the lead. But it is important for the entire fishing community throughout the Family Islands to buy into the idea.

It all comes down to the appropriate mindset.

For sure, the Abaconians, the Long islanders and certainly those of Spanish Wells have generally utilized that great enterprising spirit. That much is evident. Sadly though, there is too much of an imbalance and perhaps herein lies the real reason despite the great potential, those two industries have remained virtually at a standstill.

Just as the fishermen from the aforementioned areas of the Bahamas are known for ‘putting their earnings to good use´, there are many others from other areas of the Bahamas who live from trip to trip. There are many sad stories of the keep-up man, the diver, the deckhand or the mate drawing upwards of $3,000 following a two-week trip and within two days, is penniless. This scenario is repeated throughout the season each year. It is such a mentality that weighs heavily against national advancement in the fishing industry. The government certainly should step up to the plate and provide the guidance towards capitalizing on this great gift that God has blessed the Commonwealth of the Bahamas with.

It is heart-wrenching to hear of the billions of dollars of tuna, lobster etc. taken from the Bahamian waters each year and turned over economically by foreigners. With the world swiftly evolving into one global village, Bahamians had better start recognizing the financial generating opportunities right at our doorsteps.

Otherwise, when regional agreements like the Free Trade Association of the Americas (FTAA) comes on stream Bahamians right in the Bahamas, will find themselves second, third and fourth-class citizens.

Fred Sturrup, The Bahama Journal

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