The government of the Bahamas is negotiating a deal to lease fishing rights to China, a possibility that is alarming commercial and sport fishing interests in Florida. The deal would create 100 companies, each owned by Chinese and Bahamian shareholders, that would lease 10,000 acres of Andros Island for licensed commercial fising. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Nick Wiley told the Palm Beach Post that the situation is complicated by an ongoing border dispute over where U.S. waters end and Bahamian waters begin.
Robert Spottswood, a member of the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and president of a Key West real estate firm, told the Post that the possibility of “the Chinese government getting involved in fishing in the Bahamas could certainly affect the balance of what is going on in fisheries in South Florida.” Companies that fish for conch, grouper, lobster and snapper are major contributors to the economy of Andros Island. But it appears that Chinese fishing companies would prefer dolphin, kingfish, marlin, tuna and wahoo. [Palm Beach Post] – Mike Seemuth