The marine resources of the Bahamas are threatened by a number of challenges. These include:
Foreign fishing vessels and live aboard diving vessels – Both are unregulated and to date they collect as many fish as they desire and damage coral reefs by improper anchoring and grounding incidents. The presence of wardens could discourage such activities and the implementation of a mooring system could protect reefs from anchor damage. A mooring buoy system would allow vessels to remain stationary without having to anchor and increase the risk of damaging the coral reef.
Grounding incidents – The increased presence of foreign fishing vessels, shipping vessels and private boaters has heightened the risk of grounding incidents because of their unfamiliarity of the area.
Increasing numbers of private diving and pleasure boats – Violations of existing fisheries regulations commonly occur (especially of closed seasons, minimum size requirements and gear restrictions). A strong educational program for the residents, as well as enforcement of existing regulations, can greatly minimise such violations.
Pollution – Unauthorised foreign fishing operations have also increased the presence of marine debris and abandoned fishing traps and pots.
Save The Bays continues to fight for increased awareness of the threat of unregulated fishing and for the changes listed above. We also play a key part in the “Conchservation” drive, along with our Community Partners, which is advocating for the establishment of a closed season for the harvesting of conch.