Allocate areas to protect reef fish

WILLEMSTAD — The draft report ‘Course for our Maritime Future’ was presented to the Minister of Traffic, Transport and Regional Planning, Charles Cooper (MAN). One of the recommendations is for example to allocate protected areas for the protection of reef fish. Participants from the public and private sector held a workshop to discuss the report and to make additional recommendations.


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The provided comments will be included in the final version of the report. With regard to the ‘Economic Impact Study’ conducted in 1998 by the maritime sector of the Netherlands Antilles, the maritime consultants Pieter van Agtmaal and TimTimmers held interviews with relevant participants from the sector on Curaçao. This, with the aim to collect experiences and technical data, which is to serve as reference material for drawing up new recommendations for the revision of the maritime policy and the actualization of legislation regarding the maritime sector of the new country Curaçao.
The most important maritime sectors that were scrutinized, regards the shipping industry, the fisheries and the yacht sector, whereby the most common recommendations are aimed at streamlining complicated administrative procedures with the development of a ‘One-Stop-Shop’ approach and propagating these improvements amongst interested parties in the world. These promotional activities, in combination with the range and the use of the ship’s register and tax facilities, should in turn lead to an expansion of the on shore commercial maritime service on Curaçao, improvement of the investment climate, generating more employment, and increasing the national revenues. The Maritime Authority of Curaçao and the Curaçao Ship Management Association have hired the Central Bureau for the Statistics to measure the economic contribution of the maritime sector.
The results of this study are expected in the first half of 2011. This qualitative study and the effects’ analysis will collectively serve as input for a maritime policy document for the period 2011-2015, that attempts to create a renewed public/private maritime partnership on the island.
The ultimate objective of this partnership is to create more maritime related activities and local jobs on the island. The authors of the draft report look forward to the presentation of the report’s final version in the coming weeks.

Shipping Industry
The recommendations for the shipping industry are: relocate the former DSMZ – currently the Maritime Authority of Curaçao (MAC) – to the harbor area at the St. Annabaai, with a structural adjustment to create a clear division between policy development on the one hand, and inspection and maintenance tasks on the other hand; expand the tonnage tax to shipowners from countries that are part of the European Economical Region and the US; include permanent establishments and mega-yachts, and advertise worldwide for the attractive tax climate with a special focus on South America; develop new educational and training initiatives for the logistic sector, harbor services, fisheries and yacht sector, and made trainee posts available.

International fisheries
The recommendations for the international fisheries are: set up a fund in which part of the government revenues – together with the revenues ensuing from the new agreements with international fishing companies – is deposited, to improve the employment in and the quality of the fisheries; apply for the complete ICCAT membership (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) in order to qualify for a larger fish quota for the fishing ships registered on Curaçao; research which other fisheries’ agreements could interest fishing companies to include their vessels on the Curaçao ship’s register.

Local fishery
The recommendations for the local fishery in the exclusive economical zone are: set up protected areas for the protection of reef fish; renew the agreement with the Venezuelan fishing company Avatun for the entrance to fish pools in the local waters to make use of the revenues for a local fishery fund; stimulate a feasibility study for a fish processing company on Curaçao; train local anglers and create new financing possibilities to improve their boats; and start awareness campaigns for the youth at elementary and secondary level.

Yacht sector
The recommendations for the yacht sector are: plan the coordination of the maritime and yacht sector with the ‘Island Spacial Development Plan’ (EOP); set up a separate department in the register for commercially operated seagoing yachts; promote the yacht sector at international exhibitions and during trade missions; develop a 24-hour online digital application procedure and set up counters in the arrival harbors; give high priority to setting up a management structure and appoint a Spanish Water Authority to supervise and offer services against payment; and promote the existing tax exemptions with investors in local marina’s.