News on Hurricane Irma. (Photo: Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance)
Hurricane season leads to fishing industry catastrophic loss
Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:30 (GMT + 9)
This hurricane season has caused catastrophic loss in fishing industry in The Bahamas, which led operators to think that a direct hit by Hurricane Maria could sink international markets dominated by Bahamian exports, according to Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance President Adrian LaRoda.
LaRoda said concerns are now mounting over what effects, if any, Hurricane Maria could have if it makes landfall anywhere in the Bahamas.
On Sunday, LaRoda told Tribune Business that Irma dealt a "big blow" to the crawfish season and projected that it was going to be a "very tough Christmas" if the industry could not recover.
He said Irma's passage came just weeks into the 2017-2018 crawfish season and that all status reports obtained this week continue to "paint a bleak picture.”
“There is definitely concern,” he said. "The biggest loss was to traps and condos, and anyone that knows the business would tell you, once you lose those assets, it’s hard to spring back into action."
He explained that the months of preparation and planning were lost in a mere matter of hours during Irma's passage and has left many in the industry incapable of fulfilling international demands.
"The southern Bahamas really took a serious blow. Added to that, we are still working to effectively communicate with everyone in the north, so a complete picture is hard to come up with at this time,” the Alliance president pointed out.
"It would have been easier to absorb the Irma blow if we were able to get out immediately. That could have offset the loses to an extent, but with Maria out there, things are way up in the air now," he said.
Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Dominica on Monday night and is projected to run through the rest of the Caribbean and the southern Bahamas this weekend.
Maria was reported as a tropical storm Monday morning before growing into a category five storm over a 10-hour timeframe.
"The tropics has been so unpredictable this season. It seems like we are having a major storm every weekend and that makes it hard for guys to get out and make sure that things are in order and earn a living,” LaRoda stated.
"We were already in recovery mode, now we are just waiting to see what is what, waiting on another storm. It is going to be rough for a couple of months. I pray we can pull things together as soon as possible. Hopefully we recover in the shortest possible time," he said.
Crawfish season opened on August 1.