PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, June 13, 2020 (CMC) – The Trinidad and Tobago government has tabled legislation in Parliament, aimed at amending the twin-island’s 104-year-old fisheries legislation.
“Madame Speaker, for the first time in 104 years, a Bill is being laid, to replace this old Fisheries Act. After several attempts, this Bill represents our best efforts to date,” Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley, told Parliament, in a statement.
“It has been endorsed by our international and regional partners. It takes into consideration the bulk of views, expressed by local stakeholders. And even then, Madame Speaker, a Bill of this size, over 200 clauses, requiring a special majority, is best handled through a Joint Select Committee. I recommend that this House adopts that course,” he added.
Rowley relayed that the Fisheries Management Bill has the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, which, 28 years ago, started the process of updating the fisheries legislative framework.
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) provided technical support, among other regional and international organisations.
“I am here, today, because the work, 28 years later, is sufficiently advanced to lay today, a Fisheries Management Bill in this House,” he told legislators, after tracing his involvement with the initiative, as a fisheries officer, prior to his appointment as a Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, in 1992.
He told legislators that consultations were held with various stakeholders, generating a 200-page report, with 539 recommendations for amendments to the Bill.
Rowley explained that 204 of these recommendations were accepted, and that the new legislation strengthens and incorporates fisheries management and international obligations, as well as allowing for broader responsibilities, jurisdiction and powers, in relation to fisheries management, by the State and its representatives.
The bill also creates a legal basis for compliance by stakeholders; establishes a legal framework for the State to fulfil its obligations as a flag, port, coastal and market State, in accordance with the existing international framework for fisheries management and related sectors.