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Fisheries Division hosts a four day training programme

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The Fisheries Division in the Ministry of Agriculture will today conclude a four-day training programme in the basic maritime and fishing technology.{{more}}

The programme was officially opened on Monday at a ceremony held at the conference room of the Fisheries Division. It is the first of a series of on going training sessions for local fisher folk.

10 fishermen have had their skills upgraded in preparation for the reception of the larger fishing vessels that are expected soon in the Fishing Fleet Expansion programme.

The workshop’s objective is to strengthen the ability of local fisher folk to take advantage of the fleet expansion programme which was recently introduced. This expansion programme allows fishermen access to substantial financial and technical assistance; mainly the acquisition of vessel and appropriate fishing gear.

Chief Fisheries Officer (CFO) Raymond Ryan told the fishermen in attendance that the objective of the Workshop was to provide fishers with the necessary skills in navigation, safety at sea; fishing technology and basic engine technology.

Ryan said the fisheries sector was dominated by small enterprises of relatively low efficiency, capacity and safety.

He added: “Nevertheless, the sector is a significant contributor to the economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, not only from the perspective of revenue generation but the creation of employment, food security and poverty alleviation.”

The CFO noted that development in infrastructure in the fishing industry is seen as an important step in the stimulation of growth and economic activity in the sector.

“Evidence from fisheries infrastructure development projects undertaken in the Kingstown, Calliaqua, Bequia, Union Island and Canouan suggests that the target group incomes can be significantly increased through improved marketing and distribution of fish products,” he said.

The opening ceremony was also addressed by Leonard Charles, representative of the Goodwill Fisherman’s co-operative.

Charles said the expansion programme was an alternative to the failing banana industry. He told the fishermen that there was 200 sq miles of exclusive fishing zone which was untapped by local fisher folk but exploited by others.

He applauded the efforts of government to revive the industry, adding that the future of the rising fishing industry “looked bright.”

The fleet expansion programme is multifaceted and the fisheries division within the Ministry of Agriculture has established linkages with a number of organisations, including the National Insurance Service (NIS), National Development Foundation (NDF), First St.Vincent Bank, National Commercial Bank (NCB), Agricultural Diversification Project Implementation Unit (ADPIU), Centre for Enterprise Development (CED), and the Insurance Brookers, on behalf of the Insurance Association and the Private sector.

Last September, EC$6 million was disbursed to assist with the expansion and development of the fishing industry.

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