PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — St. Maarten is a one-pillar economy dominated by the tourism sector. Our fisheries have become marginal in economic terms and SDM aspires to revive this industry.
Since 2010, rules and regulations have been set in place to protect marine areas in protection of our natural heritage and biodiversity. Our government and other entities like the Nature Foundation have been doing a great job executing relating policies. SDM would, however, like to know what has been done since 2010 towards the establishment and protection of sustainable fisheries to support our local fisherman. What is, for example, the economic feasibility of sustainable fishing and what legal and administrative framework is needed to support this?
SDM not only believes that our government should look into reviving the fishing industry. The government should, in addition, look at ways to include our local fishermen in taking charge of coastal ocean resources in a way that they themselves could safeguard their supply, well into the future. Empower and involve those who make a living from small-scale commercial or subsistence aquaculture.
Local fisherman could cooperate with government and the Nature Foundation in executing assessments of the industry to be able to draft action plans that include support of existing marine protected areas to allow stock to replenish.
Develop a co-management system to manage the local fishing sector towards sustainability and to ensure food security alongside the protection of our natural heritage and biodiversity.