Minister Sweeting Seeks to Increase Seafood Export

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From: Bahamas Information Services

Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs the Hon. Clay Sweeting said recently that he is hoping to increase seafood exports from The Bahamas. The Minister, who is a commercial fisherman by trade, said this will assist in rejuvenating the economy.

“We would like to see an increase in exports in sustainable products such as lobster and stone crab. We can look at products that we haven’t even focused on because the sea bed is very vast. There are a lot of products that we don’t even understand that we can export. So we also need to look at other products so that we can find ways to grow the industry and not just focus on crawfish and stone crab but other products that fishermen are able to make money from,” he said.

Minister Sweeting recently visited Tropic Seafood, which is the largest exporter of seafood in The Bahamas. The company recently announced that it was harvesting American Red Snapper as part of its product offering. Tropic also harvests Spiny Lobster for export.
The Minister said that he’s impressed with the company’s ambition to develop aquaculture in the country.

“When you look at what they want to do and varying into different prospect markets… I must commend them and thank them for investing and diversifying the fishing economy because it is very important that we find ways to redevelop and modernize the industry and aquaculture is a way that you can do that,” Minister Sweeting said.

“I am looking forward to working with them hand-in-hand to ensure that their part in aquaculture and the business that they are trying to grow is successful and to ensure that what they do in that department is really able to benefit Bahamians and create more opportunities for persons. It is something that I am excited about and really hope that this is a game-changer to what this ministry is about.”

Additionally, Minister Sweeting said he hopes to make the ease of doing business with the Department of Fisheries a smoother process, as one of the major issues of the department is access to pertinent documentation.

“In my own experience, I realized that was a major issue for fishermen – to get access to permit applications and duty free permits and all of these things are small issues that we are looking at digitizing to allow fishermen access to apply online, pay for the permit online, and be able to print it from whatever island they reside from,” he said.

“The Department of Marine Resources is larger than what most people think and it’s not just permits and applications. It also deals with export of seafood and what companies are up to standard to export. And so, we are looking at not just modernizing, but enhancing the staff there to ensure that we put a renewed focus on the Department of Marine Resources.”