Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said private and public sector investments are required if the aquaculture sector is to develop in a viable manner and promised to promote such investments.
Dr. Minnis’ comments came during his address at the opening session of the Fifth Meeting of ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) Ministers in Charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture at the Melia Nassau Beach Resort yesterday.
“We will promote investment in aquaculture, mariculture and modern sea farming strategies and promote the study of the country’s marine resources with a view to creating opportunities for the artificial propagation and enhancement of local fishing stocks,” Dr. Minnis said.
He added that The Bahamas will also create additional protected marine areas with a view to achieving the stated national goal of protecting 20 percent of the national seabed by 2020.
Dr. Minnis said The Bahamas will seek assistance of international organizations to provide ongoing technical and financial support to ensure the growth, protection, viability and sustainability of The Bahamas’ marine resources.
He also pointed out that the import of fish and fisheries products shows a steep rise, with an increase of 35 percent in just over a decade.
“Fish imports are currently about 10 times higher than aquaculture production,” Dr. Minnis said.
The Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Renward Wells was also in attendance and encouraged delegates to not only think about the challenges faced today, but the challenges that may arise during the next 15 years and beyond.
“It is imperative that you share the successes that you have experienced in your respective countries and share what you have learnt with fellow small states,” Wells said.
He also urged the delegates to take their experience at the conference and continue to engage in action research, in order to provide sound documentation to drive the campaign for bilateral engagements, networking and developing partnerships for sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture.
Other topics discussed during the opening session were climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and technical market barriers.