In an official ceremony held at the Da Blue Hole in Marsh Harbour a new vessel was christened by the Minister of Marine Resources and Agriculture for use by Abaco’s Department of Marine Resources in patrolling the waters of Abaco.
Minister of Marine Resources and Agriculture, Michael Pintard attended the affair where he lauded the efforts of the local Department of Marine Resources and ensure the government’s commitment to protecting the sustainability of Bahamian waters.
Mr. Pintard introduced the brand new 24 foot Boston Whaler, Justice noting it is the first of three boats that the Department of Marine Resources will be commissioning this year in their efforts to protect the country’s marine resources.
He said “This vessel, now replaces the existing 26 ft. Paramount Powerboats Patrol Craft, which was based in Cooper’s Town, Abaco. The patrol of this vessel was not limited to the North Abaco District, but also enforced fishery protocols in the North-western Bahamas inclusive of Walker’s Cay, Grand Cay, Grand Bahama, Bimini and the Berry Islands.”
He said that the new fisheries patrol vessel, will be used as “a vehicle whereby local fishers may continue to earn a safe living from the sea, while at the same time, ensuring that our visitors still flock to the islands to enjoy the thrill of fishing on the high seas and the flats while respecting our laws that govern this activity.”
The former vessel he noted was purchased some 19 years ago, and was responsible for numerous arrests and interdictions over the years “and its presence continues to act as a deterrent to would be offenders.”
He said that “over the course of its tenure and due to wear and tear, it has become necessary to curtail its operation and secure a replacement to continue this critical work.”
Mr. Pintard then paused to recognize Carrol Laing, former Assistant Fisheries Superintendent, “and the principal driving force in relation to the use of the Paramount during his tenure with the Department.”
“The yeoman’s work of the Paramount boat and her crew demands that we continue our investment in fisheries enforcement in a meaningful way. Our marine resources must not remain open to abuse by Bahamians or foreigners in our waters,” he added.
He said that “the waters of Abacos are well known for their beauty and their abundance of marine resources. The allure of the island attracts thousands of foreign boaters who visit these islands each year in search of the elusive trophy billfish or flats fish.”
The pressures placed on local marine resources by these visitors and our domestic fishers demand that necessary provisions be put in place and that legislation be enacted to ensure the sustainability of our resources and the minimization of conflict between the various user groups.
The 24 Foot Justice is the first of three boats that we will be commissioning this year in our efforts to protect our marine resources.
“For those who will have charge of this particular craft, it is expected that the tradition which began with the Paramount will continue with this new vessel. It is my hope that this craft will make its presence felt through the loyalty, dedication and commitment of the Officers who have been entrusted to serve upon her,” he said in closing.