Reforms will oblige Cuba to work more closely with its US neighbours in spite of US President Trumps frosty attitude
Cuba has introduced sweeping reforms of its fishing laws in a move seen as smoothing the way for possible collaboration with the US on protecting their shared ocean, despite Donald Trumps policy of reversing a thaw in relations.
The move is the first time the text of an environmental law in Cuba specifies the need for scientific research, which experts say will mean greater reliance on state-of-the-art US technology.
If we dont look for collaboration we cant have the full picture, said Jorge Angulo Valdes, a Cuban marine biologist at the University of Florida. Ocean science must continue to transcend political pressures, he said. Trump is doing everything he can to close the doors on collaboration. Cuba is doing everything to make it easier to keep those doors open.
Cooperation is as vital to US interests as it is to Cuba, Angulo-Valdes said. The two countries are separated by just 140km (90 miles) of water, and Cuban waters provide spawning grounds for species of snapper, grouper and other commercially important reef fish in the US. Maintaining healthy numbers of bonefish, a lucrative game fish in south Florida, for example, depends on protecting the species in Cuban waters, where the bonefish spawn, said Angulo Valdes.