Fisheries Dept, FAO to develop aquaculture regulations

The Fisheries Department is collaborating with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to develop the aquaculture and inland fisheries regulations.

Chief Fisheries Officer, Mr. Denzil Roberts made this disclosure on Monday during an interview with DPI.

“We recognised that the pressure is on the marine resources. We have to try to ease that pressure by having aquaculture; replacing some of the animal protein,” Mr. Roberts said.

The Chief Fisheries Officer explained that fish is in high demand in the hinterland districts as the populations there have grown. While this is a boon to the industry, persons who practice fishing in those areas can cause adverse impacts on the marine environment there.

“They would tend to fish in the streams and lakes and some persons from the coast will also go in and sometimes they… just throw a seine across the creek and just pick up what they want. After a time that will damage the ecosystem; hence the urgent need for the regulations,” Mr. Roberts explained.

The Fisheries Act has no substantive provisions relating to aquaculture, the FAO stated. It empowers the Minister (presumably of Fisheries, Crops and Livestock) to make regulations on “the stocking of any water with fish and the establishment and control of fish hatcheries,” the agency said.

The proposed revision is comprehensive; it provides a definition of aquaculture, regulates the licensing procedure to engage in and set up an aquaculture facility, and contains substantive provisions on enforcement, offences and penalties.  According to the FAO, the Chief Fisheries Officer will have to impose conditions which may include the structure, equipment and maintenance practices to use for aquaculture; disposal of dead fish, material or waste resulting from aquaculture, including the requirement of consent or notification in relation thereto; and the monitoring and control of water quality.

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