I have to say that I am ashamed for not giving enough thought and attention to the problem of overfishing, bleaching and the harm done by gill nets on the coral reefs. I question myself as to why I did not act sooner as I have known for many years – at least five years – of this problem.
We live in a society that is very small where we know or have connection to each other and one another. I suppose my reluctance to step forward was based on what might be considered stepping on someone’s toes and what the retaliation or reaction would transpire because of my protest.
Less than three weeks have passed where less than a handful of men in the industry decided that they had had enough and decided to do something publicly to voice their concerns. Their actions, through the media, have spurred many to react in a positive way.
Eli Fuller acted by setting up a Facebook link to encourage others to help support the cause of saving our marine life by asking the public to sign their names in a petition to hand over to our prime minister, Hon Baldwin Spencer. In a short time the petition has amassed over 600 signatures and is still growing.
Meanwhile, Len Mussington, president of the Antigua & Barbuda Fishermen’s Co-operatives, an extremely knowledgeable man in his field, also raised the alarm by publishing his findings in the newspapers.
Environmental activist, Nemo, has said that “…serious consideration return to the foundation established by the provisions of the Fisheries Act that was supposed to have been implemented since 2006.”
He further suggested that the fisheries minister was not acting in the best interest of an industry that is in dire straits of attention.
These men have acted quietly through various media to raise the public’s awareness in the plundering and looting of our parrotfish, lobster, et al, as well as the potential disaster of our coral reefs due to the exploitation of these fish and other animals. I, myself, wrote a few letters to the editor as I was spurred on to do my bit and give my own support.
These men have garnered support and interest to a plight that has gone on for far too long and it shows that when we act as one voice, the message is heard loud and clear. Already, there is concern raised on this same issue around the region, which has been acknowledged by our prime minister.
Once again, I would say that educating the public to the wrongs and rights is needed to send this serious message across our tiny 108 square mile island. Hopefully, action to stop this desecration of our sea life will be sooner rather than later, as each passing day is a day too late.