October 03, 2007
Manager of the Nevis Air and Sea Ports Authority (NASPA) Mr. Spencer Hanley said apart from NASPAs thrust to promote Nevis as a yacht destination, the Authority had gone to great lengths to protect sea bathers on one of the island’s most popular beaches Pinneys Beach, through the installation of EC$600,000 worth of swim buoys and moorings and the prohibition of fishing in the designated swim area.
He told the Department of Information on Tuesday September 02, 2007 that the move to position marked areas with buoys from Double Duce to Sunshines Beach Bar and Grill and a smaller area in front of the Four Seasons Resort with buoys would no longer be available for fishers to fetch bait.
In the past, Fishers were able to cast their nets to catch smaller fish which would be used for bait. However, the practice Mr. Hanley said would also attract larger fish and it was for that reason the practice would no longer be tolerated by the Authority in the marked swimming areas.
“We are asking you please to refrain from fishing in the designated swim areas that is what it is. I want to thank you for our patience with us as we try to improve and make the tourism product a much better one here on this island”¦.If we do the fishing in the swim area, often times, lots of dead fish (sprats) remain and sometimes they will attract the bigger fish that can cause harm. We can’t prevent the fish from coming in but we certainly don’t want to encourage them by having lots of little dead fish in the area we have designated as the swim area,” he said.
Mr. Hanley noted that while the Authority had discussed the issue with key players like the Legal Department, the Fisheries Department and conservationists on the island all of whom supported the idea to disallow fishing in the area.
He said the Authority had considered the fact that fishers were a crucial element in Nevis’ tourism product and they could continue with their baiting practice in other areas
“We are not in anyway attempting to disrupt the lives of the fishermen but as I said the big fish that they are seeking to catch could eventually become a negative because if there is no tourist to sell it to then it might not be a good thing.
“This is very, very important we are not here to disrupt the lives of the fishermen and we are not occupying the entire beach. The swim area is really just a small section from Sunshines’ down to Double Duce and then a much smaller section in front of Four Seasons to the south of Four Seasons wharf between the two sets of rocks. So we are not asking for much”¦You can do your bait fishing in other areas”¦We are not here to cause any harm. We know that the fishermen form a vital part of the tourism industry,” he said.
Mr. Hanley said the Authority wanted the Fishers to have a good life but instead wished to strike a balance in which everyone used the beach and felt safe.