We were on the radio again yesterday. Here is some of what Marine Biologist, John Mussington had to say as reported today in the Daily Observer:
By By Tameika Malone – Monday, June 25th, 2012.
ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Marine Biologist John Mussington has warned that the over-fishing of the sister isle’s marine resources could spell disastrous implications on Barbuda’s economy.
Speaking on the Big Issues programme yesterday, Mussington maintained that uncontrolled exploitation of fish could increase its already costly food import bill. The marine biologist said something must be done immediately.
“We have to look at our food security. The average person in Barbuda depends a lot on having cheap, readily available fish for consumption and if this was to be lost, the impact would be more significant than on the average Antiguan.
The marine biologist said if this way of life was to be lost the implications would be immeasurable.
“When you consider because of the transport cost and other difficulties, everything in Barbuda is at least 30 per cent higher in price than in Antigua,” Mussington said.
He pointed out that the local fishermen who have already wreaked havoc on Antigua’s parrot or chub fish stock are now in Barbuda.
Mussington said while the fisheries there have done things differently than in Antigua, taking into consideration the fisheries resources, livelihoods and cultural lifestyles of its fisher folks, the problem is yet to be addressed.
“In Barbuda the export of lobster is very significant because it puts money into the pockets, directly and indirectly for a large portion of the population, so if anything is to go wrong with the fisheries, there is going to be more hardship on Barbuda’s economy and by extension every single Barbudan,” Mussington said.
However, the parrotfish is not the only marine species that this over-fishing would impact.
According to Mussington, the parrotfish plays an integral role in ensuring the existence of other species and these fish should be monitored.
“It’s not just the chub fish that is going to be affected, the coral reef we know will be affected and that same coral reef is where we find our lobsters so there will be a domino effect,” he added.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)