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A Report prepared by C.P. Idyll and Bruce H. Wildsmith


This report was prepared under the terms of a Food and Agriculture Organization project entitled “Fisheries Development Project (Phase II)” BHA/82/002/A/01/12. The objective was “to assist the Government in completing the aquaculture regulations in The Bahamas to meet the industrial development demands.” More particularly the Terms of Reference for the assignment were as follows:

Prepare draft aquaculture regulations that would provide the Government of Bahamas with legal framework for controlling and directing the development of an aquaculture industry in the country taking into special consideration:

  1. status of existing aquaculture operations in the country;
  2. aquaculture regulations in other countries with similar social economic and environmental conditions;
  3. existing relevant laws and regulations and the views of the relevant Government Ministries;
  4. potentials for and constraints to the development of aquaculture as expressed in existing reports;
  5. any pertinent actions in his field requested by the Project Team Leader.

The authors, Professor Bruce H. Wildsmith of the Faculty of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and Dr. C.P. Idyll, fishery biologist, of Bethesda, Maryland, USA, spent the month of August, 1983 on duty station in Nassau, The Bahamas. Our report was prepared following examination of existing legislation, interviews with Government officials in a number of Ministries, interviews with persons engaged in research and development in aquaculture in The Bahamas, and other knowledgeable persons in Nassau and Freeport, Grand Bahama. It is broken into sections dealing with the status of existing aquaculture operations in The Bahamas, including species experimented with or cultured; the potential for aquaculture in The Bahamas and constraints to its development; the suitability of particular species for commercial culture in The Bahamas, discussing oysters, mussels, marine shrimp, freshwater shrimp, trout, carp, catfish, tilapia, seaweeds, spiny lobster, stone crabs, brine shrimp, conchs, pompano, mullet, dolphin fish, groupers and snappers, turtles and sponges; aquaculture legislation and regulations in other countries, with specific reference to Japan, The Philippines, Hong Kong, Isreal, Australia, New Zealand, Gambia, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada; other relevant laws and regulations and views of relevant government ministries, i.e., the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Department of Lands and Surveys (within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Local Government), the Honourable George A. Smith, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Local Government, The Bahamas National Trust, the Office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Finance, and The Bahamas Development Bank; explanatory comments on the draft legislation; and finally the draft statute and a complementary set of aquaculture regulations. In result, the report is a reasonably detailed examination of aquaculture in The Bahamas with a complete set of legal provisions for new aquaculture laws tailored to The Bahamas.

Particular mention should be made of the assistance rendered to this project by Ronald Thompson, Director of Fisheries for The Bahamas. He provided introductions and explanations for ourselves and our assignment to other government officials and culturists, discussed with us the problems he and his Department have experienced with aquaculture, and reviewed and commented on earlier drafts of the Aquaculture Act, 1983 and the Aquaculture Regulations, 1983. Mr. Thompson was also very kind and helpful in making comfortable our stay in The Bahamas.

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