I have been reading with keen interest the goings-on about the Chinese monopolizing and influencing the purchasing of fish, lobster and other sea animals.
One of the questions I keep asking myself is what is it we think that the Chinese are doing wrong? We have had other foreign nationals coming into Antiguan waters and buying directly from the fishermen, giving them a better price than they can get from the locals for many, many years.
The Chinese have shown us, or more importantly, upstaged us in realizing a potential and very successful market. They have shown us that they are the type of businessmen that, seeing a chance to make money, go for it.
Why the anger toward them? Are we angry that we lost out on a successful venture? Are we kicking ourselves for not having the vision?
The word is opportunity, and the Chinese saw an opportunity to lure these fishermen into working for them. In law terms, they saw the means, the motive and the opportunity, and they grabbed it hook, line and sinker.
However, my main concern is not this practice, but the lack of zoning in our waters. We are in danger of over-fishing and if we do not stop this continuous bleeding of our marine life, we will lose the very livelihood we depend on so dearly. This is where the Ministry of Fisheries must step in to ensure that our waters are protected.
My suggestion is to divide the island into four zones in a one-year period. This means that each zone should be protected for approximately three months in the year. Monitoring these zones should be relatively easy for the Coast Guard and the authorities from the ministry to protect.
Finally, as with all things, education is the key. Perhaps the ministry can start a competition in schools with the theme of saving our marine life.
I believe that we have to be proactive. There are many of us who can impart knowledge and help with suggestions. Hopefully, it’s a start in the right direction.