Published on : Tuesday, February 21, 2017
The Bahamas banned longliner fishing vessels, which were a major cause of unintentional by-catch of sharks, twenty-five years ago and took stewardship over its fisheries. In 2011, a shark sanctuary came into existence with prohibition of commercial shark fishing and trading in shark meat.
Hence, the Bahamas now has the largest shark dive industry in the world. A new study found that sharks and rays contribute US$114 million per year to the Bahamian economy through recreational shark diving. However, Trinidad & Tobago opted for a different path and sold the bankrupt National Fisheries Company to Taiwanese interests. The National Fisheries wharf in Sea Lots became a free zone for a fleet of Asian owned longliners which would eventually make Trinidad & Tobago the world’s sixth largest transshipment hub for shark fin to Hong Kong.
Trinidad & Tobago can be the ecotourism hotspot of the Caribbean. One cannot find so much biodiversity concentrated in such a small area. Majority of people in T & T speak English, which is an edge over Spanish speaking contenders like Costa Rica. T & T also boasts of great success with turtle conservation. From hunting turtles, communities now make a living protecting them. Nature Seekers in Matura attracts at least 14,000 visitors a year, majority of who are locals.