Our Readers' Opinions
June 19, 2009
Fisheries Management and Development


by Mr. Raymond Ryan


Fisheries Divison

From ancient times fishing has been a major source of food for humanity and a provider of employment and economic benefits to those engaged in this activity. The wealth of aquatic resources was assumed to be an unlimited gift of nature. {{more}} However, with increased knowledge and the dynamic development of fisheries after the Second World War, this myth has faded in the face of realisation that aquatic resources, although renewable are not infinite, and need to be properly managed, if their contribution to the nutritional, economic and social well-being of the growing world’s population is to be sustained.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was adopted after long deliberations in 1982, provided a new framework for the better management of marine resources. This new legal of the ocean conferred on coastal states, not only rights but responsibilities for the management and sustainable development of marine fisheries. Although such extended national jurisdiction was necessary, many coastal states were faced with serious challenges, given their inexperience and lack of financial and technical resources, as they sought to extract greater benefits from fisheries within their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). Nevertheless, it is the duty of a coastal state to ensure compliance with fisheries legislation by persons or vessels operating within the waters under their sovereignty and jurisdiction. Additionally, flag states must ensure that their flag vessels abide by applicable international conservation and management measures on the high seas. The enactment of appropriate legislation is a necessary but insufficient step as effective law enforcement is critical if fisheries management objectives are to be achieved.

The mandate for fisheries management and development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is embodied in the following primary legislation:

The Maritime Areas Act of 1983 (Act No. 15 of 1983).

The Fisheries Act of 1986 (Act No. 8 of 1986).

The High seas fishing Act of 2001 (Act No 26 of 2001).

Legislation adopted by the Government through the Cabinet generally sets out the substantive and procedural details of implementation of the provisions of the primary legislation. These are referred to as regulations and include the following:

The Fisheries Regulations of 1987.

The Fisheries (Fish and Fish Product) Regulations of 2006.

Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Regulations of 2003.

The High Fishing Regulations of 2006.

Investors with an intention to become involved in the fisheries sector should take the necessary steps to become familiar and comply with the relevant legislation.