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Fishing vessels registered under SVG flag comply with regulations – Fisheries Official

Fishing vessels registered under SVG flag  comply with regulations – Fisheries Official

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A senior official in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has said that vessels registered with St Vincent and the Grenadines to fish on the high seas are complying with regulations.{{more}}

Jennifer Cruickshank-Howard, acting chief fisheries officer, told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, that although there have been issues in the past, it has been relatively smooth sailing with ships licensed to fish under the flag of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We don’t have problems with those vessels that have been registered with us,” Cruickshank-Howard said.

“When there is a problem, and we have had problems in the past, these vessels were dealt with, and it depends on what the situation was…. If at anytime there is a problem with these, it will be dealt with,” she said.

Howard spoke with SEARCHLIGHT, one week after officials from the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) refuted allegations that Taiwan has been “a leech on the economy of St Vincent and the Grenadines”.

The allegations were made in a television commercial by SVG Green Party leader Ivan O’Neal.

O’Neal, responding to the Taiwanese official, also alleged that the vessels do not have Vincentian observers on board to ensure that the ships fish on the high seas, and that they catch the quota and types of fish they are licensed to catch.

Cruickshank-Howard, however, confirmed with SEARCHLIGHT that observers are stationed on fishing vessels, to certify that the vessels are in compliance with ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) regulations, of which St Vincent and the Grenadines is a member.

She pointed out that the observer does not have to be a Vincentian national.

The acting CFO also confirmed the Taiwanese official’s assertion, that the fisheries department has been equipped with a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) to monitor the location of vessels.

All vessels are also equipped with Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

“The VMS is a system that we can [use to] monitor the vessels, while they are doing their fishing operations at sea. We have been able to use it in terms of monitoring, but we have had some problems with the programme, so it has been down and we are working to have that system up and running again.”

Cruickshank-Howard said that the department is unable to indicate how many fishing vessels were registered with St Vincent and the Grenadines at the moment, because the registry list was currently being updated.(JJ)

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