St. John’s Antigua- Having almost ravaged the fishing stock off Antigua, Barbuda-based marine biologist John Mussington says fishermen are now looking to employ their harmful practices on the sister isle.
Their primary target: the parrot fish, which Mussington revealed, fishers are going at great lengths to capture.
“That particular category of fishermen they cleaned out all the reefs in Antigua.”
“The guys, not Antiguans, come and they set their gill nets and camp out on the shores over here. They target the parrot fish alone and there have been reports that they are using bleach to hunt them,” the marine biologist said.
According to Mussington, when the foreign fishermen catch fish that is not the parrot fish, they dispose of them on the beaches of Barbuda.
The fishermen try their best to avoid local fishers, Mussington told OBSERVER Media, plying their harmful trade when local fishermen have retired for the day.
He said several attempts including calling the Coast Guard for assistance have been employed to try to stop the fish invasion off Barbuda.
“People in Barbuda have tried to confiscate the nets, but it’s a losing battle. They apparently have official blessings for what they are going.”
The problem has persisted for about two years, but Mussington disclosed that efforts to use bad fishing practices off the island have intensified in recent months.
“Just yesterday, I received a report from a fisherman who is frustrated over here,” Mussington said adding that several reports have been made to the police.
The concerns by the marine biologist comes on the heels of a Fisheries Division study which found that urgent action is needed to save the parrot fish from the gill-netting and spare fishing practices.
In response to the anxiety over the local fisheries stock, the Antigua Conservation Association commissioned an online petition to force government to sign off on fisheries regulations that would aid in the protection of the marine eco-systems.