KEVON FELMINE & SASCHA WILSON
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Agriculture Ministry to end unregulated trawling
Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, says the time has come to put a stop to harmful trawling activities which have damaged the marine environment as well as the capacity of fisher-folk to earn a livelihood.
He committed to treating with the issue “frontally or confrontationally” in the feature address at the Institute of Marine Affairs’ 40th Anniversary Commemoration and Long Service Awards on Wednesday at the Government Plaza in Port-of-Spain.
Also speaking at the event was the chairman of the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) Hayden Alexander and IMA director Dr Ahmad Khan.
Rambharat, in holding firm to his resolve to stop fiddling around the issue of regulating the trawling industry by trying to negotiate with people whose wishes will never be satisfied, said he has already “placed on record in the Parliament his intention to be the minister who finally took a decision—one way or the other—on the issue of trawling.”
In bringing to the forefront the results of climate change, the minister was keen to cite the effects of coastal erosion which he admitted was neither a simple nor a cheap matter.
He said: “In the last year, there has been significant changes in coastal activity taking place at an accelerated rate on the North-East coast and we have seen—even without major weather issues—irregular coastal action negatively impacting our fisheries facilities along the said coast.
“However, despite government’s programme of implementing very extensive work to preserve the integrity of our coasts, it is going to be an uphill task to reverse what is happening in the environment.”
Rambharat lauded both the IMA’s longevity and its excellent work in producing the State of the Marine Environment (SOME) Report 2016 and, in so doing, signalled to management, that the time had come for the organisation to expand the boundaries of its current scope as it journeyed beyond.
“The IMA in its 40 years has worked the range: from project conception straight through to implementation; from advocacy to playing a role in policy development; from advisory to facilitating the implementation of research but perhaps, now that you are 40 and armed with the skills, expertise and experience of such a tenure, you can now focus on a far more important task and that is, shaping our country’s future,” he said.
The IMA—in honouring the service of staff from 15 to as much as 39 years—launched its new website and unveiled two commemorative publications.
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