A sweeping new set of strict fishing regulations for Barbuda, including the introduction of five no fishing zones, were, yesterday (Tuesday), signed into law. Once gazetted, the protocols will come into legal effect.
“This will definitely benefit the people of Barbuda, and Antigua as well,” Arthur Nibbs, Chairman of the Barbuda Council and Fisheries Minister said in a statement released by the Waitt Institute.
The guidelines introduced under the Blue Halo Initiative, which is a partnership between the non-profit Waitt Institute and the Barbuda Council, come after 17 months of consultations and scientific research.
The Blue Halo plan has attracted criticism from fishermen in Barbuda, including by those who say more should be done to restrict foreign fishermen before placing limits on Barbudans.
Director of the Barbuda Research complex John Mussington criticised the initiative for being too narrowly focused on restricting fishing and ignoring other factors affecting marine life, such as climate change and rising sea temperatures. He also faulted the plan for failing to find avenues for alternative income for fishermen while the marine life rebounds.