Dominican vessel apprehended on June 22. File Photo

STATEMENT The Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs wishes to thank the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Royal Bahamas Police force for their assistance in the interdiction and arrest of five Dominican poachers aboard the Dominican vessel “Amanda” this past Sunday.

The vessel was apprehended at approximately 11PM on Saturday, 25th September 2021 by the Bahamian patrol vessel HMBS Bahamas in waters near Diamond Point, Southern Great Bahama Bank.

The fishermen were caught with 5,420 lbs of Hog Fish, 2,213 lbs of Nassau Grouper, 11,267 lbs of whole lobster, 276 lbs of lobster tails and 1,685 lbs of assorted fish. Additionally, the poachers were also operating in Bahamian waters illegally while using a compressor and spear guns. They are expected to be charged with six violations of The Fisheries Act 2020. They are also alleged to have been in possession of a quantify of drugs on board the Dominican flagged “Amanda” and are also alleged to have attempted to ram the HMBS Bahamas while attempting to escape.

Charges are expected to be brought for these offences as well. Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting expressed deep gratitude to the officers onboard the HMBS Bahamas for their bravery in protecting Bahamian waters from illegal fishermen intent on causing harm. “I appreciate the hard work and bravery of these men and women in uniform as they guard our heritage and I particularly applaud the deep cooperation between the RBDF and Bahamian fishermen who very often are the ones to spot these illegal boats in our waters” the Minister said. “I wish to encourage our fishermen to maintain the open dialogue between our law enforcement agencies as well as the Department of Marine Resources as we work hand in hand to guard our heritage” he continued.

The illegal fishers are expected to be arraigned in court on 1st October, 2021.