Illegal fishing on the rise in Cuba
In Cuba, it’s revolutionary apartheid. Common folk get catfish, while the privileged get shrimp and lobster.
In 2013, Cuba reported a total of 2,959 cases of illegal fishing or trapping of protected marine species, such as crocodiles, turtles, seafood and manatees–more than double those reported the previous year, according to state-run media.
Last year 972 more cases were recorded than in 2012. The figure also increased when compared to 2011, when 996 cases were recorded .
The government largely blames the increase in illegal activity to the high demand of products such as lobster and shrimp in the informal market, which supposedly goes against the fundamental lines of the nationalized economy and the ecosystem.
But the reality is that these actions are a desperate response from the island’s people. There are contributing factors. For example, there’s the decline of basic staples, due to an unresloved economic crisis resulting from a socialist system that represses private initiative, or allows it narrowly. After his timid reforms, General Raul Castro prevented the abundance of fish from fresh and marine waters of the island to pass from the rivers and seas to the tables of the island’s consumers.
In their attempt to monopolize and control fishing and trade in species such as lobster and shrimp, the authorities began to impose severe fines, and in some cases, severe prison sentences for those who were found guilty of the fishing, transport, use or sale of these species.
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