Environment Minister calls for increased protection of economic benefits of marine and fisheries resources as GCFI76 wraps-up

Shown from left at the official closing ceremony of GCFI76 are the Hon. Vaughn Miller, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources; Phedra Rahming-Turnquest, Permanent Secretary; and the Hon. Zane Lightbourne, State Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources.

In his keynote address at the official closing ceremony of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) Conference, Environment and Natural Resources Minister the Hon. Vaughn Miller emphasized that communities and international partners require more cooperation, integration, ideas and knowledge exchange to protect the economic benefits that marine and fisheries resources provide.

Some 300 environmental and fisheries experts representing 40 countries are today wrapping up their week-long 76th GCFI conference which opened Monday, November 6, 2023 at Atlantis, Paradise Island, to the theme ‘Linking Science and Society towards a vision for sustainable Fisheries.’

Among those in attendance: the Hon. Zane Lightbourne, Minister of State for the Environment; Robert Glazer, Executive Director, Gulf & Caribbean Fisheries Institute; Alejandro Acosta, GCFI Programme Chair; Danielle Hanek, Acting Director of Forestry, Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources; Phedra Rahming-Turnquest, Permanent Secretary; Dr. Rhianna Neely-Murphy, Director, Department of Environmental Planning and Protection; and Lakeisha Anderson-Rolle, Executive Director, Bahamas National Trust.

Said Minister Miller, “With growth in human populations and anthropogenic pressures on marine environments, more and more people are demanding more benefits from marine ecosystems. And that is why to meet this challenge, you, the world’s key stakeholders, governmental agencies, policy makers, scientists, university faculty, university students, fishers, NGOs and advocacy groups are encouraging innovative approaches to sustainable fisheries. Marine and Fisheries planning, coastal zone management, and ecosystem-based management, for example, recognize both human impacts and dependencies on fisheries they support.

“If not done responsibly, remediation for damage to ecosystems that support fisheries are likely irreversible. We just simply cannot continue to allow unsustainable marine and fisheries practices.”

Minister Miller acknowledged and thanked the participants and representatives at GCFI76 for their “invaluable” contributions.  He extended a “special” thank you to all of the agencies, organizations and ministries which were involved in hosting and coordinating the meetings.

“The presentations, round table workshops, intersessional networking, illustrious poster display-sessions, and prize giving sessions at this conference have been compellingly constructive and far reaching. Their impact will undoubtedly be felt in the way we bring science to our societies – to collectively meet sustainable fisheries,” he added.

By KATHRYN CAMPBELL/Bahamas Information Services

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