“Policy is decided among the people and with the people. We are here to try to come to a way to manage this, and naturally the laws to support this, in a sustainable, responsible manner and in dialogue based on a vision in which nature is considered an equal partner in our community.” Those were the words of the minister of Nature, Mr. Ursell Arends, as he started a meeting during the weekend together with a group of fishermen, to discuss specifically spearfishing.
Currently according to law spearfishing is not permitted. The activity is taking place solely because of a policy of tolerance which allows people who have a permit to practice this activity, but under very strict laws – and according to the fishermen, these are dangerous.
After deliberating with the concerning departments and stakeholders regarding spearfishing, Arends made the decision to regulate the activity through law instead of forbidding it.
According to Arends, there is an opportunity to use the knowledge and experience of these fishermen to nature’s advantage, and also to collect the necessary data to measure the impact – negative or positive – of policy and regulation on our marine life and the quality of the water in our oceans.
Together with all relevant departments, Arends and his team heard and dialogued with the spearfishermen where they brought forward their positions and worries so that the government, in turn, could take these into consideration when drafting a spearfishing policy.
Arends said in a press release that they will continue the discussion together with a representative group named by the fishermen, to continue collaboration in order to reach a policy that both fishermen and environmentalists can live with.