September 14, 2007

Dr. Gonsalves tells regional fishermen – Stay out!

Fishermen from neighbouring countries should stay clear of Vincentian waters, if they don’t want to be arrested and slapped with the full weight of the law.{{more}}

This was the warning issued by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who told them that they will be ill-advised to trespass into Vincentian waters.

Dr Gonsalves was last Friday speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of an EC$36 million Japan funded Owia Fishing Centre.

“I know that there are one or two neighbouring islands, when they hear that we are developing all these facilities, and given the bounteous nature of our sea, will want to come more and more into our waters to fish. I warn them not to do it,” Dr Gonsalves said.

He said that just over a month ago, a fisherman from Martinique, who operated out of St Lucia, was charged EC$33,000 and had his catch of fish and fishing gear confiscated, when he was found fishing in Vincentian waters.

“You are not going to come into our back yard, in our waters, and exploit our fish,” Dr Gonsalves warned.

He said that if there is a desire for fishing agreements between St Vincent and the Grenadines and neighbouring islands, this has to be done through a governmental agreement.

“We will arrest you – make it plain,” Dr Gonsalves emphasized.

He said that he considered illegal fishing like someone coming into his yard and “picking off my breadfruit tree.” (KJ)