After an extensive period of update and review Antigua and Barbuda will finally have in place stricter measures for the management and conservation of the nation’s fisheries resources. This process was first facilitated by a Technical Cooperation Project through the Food and Agriculture Organisation as early as 2003. The Act was passed in 2006, but the Fisheries Regulations, the enabling instrument of the Act, underwent a long processs of consultation. Several rounds of review with stakeholders from across the industry contributed to the finalisation of the draft. The draft regulations were finalised in late 2012 and have since been signed off by the Minister responsible for fisheries.
The Fisheries Act and Regulations will take effect from February 1, 2012 according to a newspaper article in the local newspaper. This new legislation will put stronger measures in place for the management and conservation of the country’s marine resources. Of particular note, the Act and regulations make provisions for the licensing of fishers and requires that new entrants to the fishery receive training in a range of issues, including marine conservation. It also includes stronger measures for key species including those not previously covered by regulation, stricter controls for certain gear not previously regulated, and stronger penalties for fisheries violations.
The Act and Regulations once strictly enforced should greatly improve the country’s fisheries sector. For more information on fisheries in Antigua and Barbuda check the Fisheries Division’s website: http://www.fisheries.gov.ag