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Enhancement through technology – Fisherman’s Month launched

Enhancement through technology – Fisherman’s Month launched

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Enhancement through technology is the driving force behind this year’s Fisherman’s Day activities.{{more}}

The 38th Annual Fisherman’s Month of activities, which was launched on Friday in Kingstown is being held under the theme of “Increasing Fishing Productivity through Innovative Technology” and the slogan, “New Technology, Fish Effectively”.

In his address, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Raymond Ryan said this year’s theme and slogan are a play on the need to ensure that the fishing industry enhances its efficiency and productivity.

“This is particularly important in recent times with the current economic downturn in the global economy, where revenue generated in foreign markets is constantly decreasing,” Ryan said.

Ryan added that the standards required for access to these markets are becoming stringent and so the ministry is encouraging fisher folk to retool their fishing operations in an effort to remain competitive in the market place and meet the standards of consumers locally, regionally and internationally.

“We must change our approach to business in the industry,” he said. “Fishing must be approached as a business with good manufacturing practices and proper promotional activities”.

Winfield Tannis, chairman of the Fisherman’s Day Committee stated that this year, the committee strives to encourage the use of new technology to gain an enhanced fisheries sector.

The chairman said that technology plays a vital role in the fishing industry and the lives of those involved and so, it is important to ensure that fishermen are developed in the area.

Acting Chief Fisheries Officer Jennifer Cruickshank-Howard shared a similar view.

“Capacity building for stakeholders is necessary for the growth of the fishing industry,” she said. “Training in fish processing and handling, new fishing gear in technology and techniques, navigation and safety at sea and small business management are some of the essential subject areas for training needed to assist the fisher folk with enhancing their capabilities to compete.”

Cruickshank-Howard highlighted the introduction of FADs – Fish Aggregating Devices, technology that she stated has not only proven to be successful, but also, very beneficial to fishermen.

“FAD is designed to aggregate fish at a node location, thereby reducing the time that fishermen will spend in search of fish and this also reduces fuel consumption, which increases productivity,” she explained.

The chief noted the location of two FADs in Vincentian waters, one three miles west of Barrouallie, one of this country’s prominent fishing communities, while another is located five miles west of Port Elizabeth, Bequia.

Minister of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry, Fisheries and Industry Saboto Caesar encouraged youths to become active in the fishing industry.

He described the FADs a way to make fishing a sexier exercise, so that the younger generation may show a greater interest.

The FADs, he said, make fishing easier and more productive.

“Technology has played and will continue to play a critical role in the development of any economy,” Caesar stressed.

The minister said the fishing sector in this country is looking to increase the application of technology, not only in harvesting, but in handling and processing as well, in order to meet local and international standards for export.

Additionally, Caesar stated that while the growth is slow, he is looking towards partnerships with friendly governments, including Japan, which has been working with St Vincent to increase productivity in the industry.

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), handed over to the Ministry reading material that outlines how to construct an ice box while on a vessel, as well as the processing and handling of fish.

“JICA has been working along with the Fisheries Division to promote the consumption of quality fish and increase productivity in the fishing industry,” representative of JICA Nariaki Mikuni said.

The month of activities leading up to Fisherman’s Day commenced with the launch on Friday at the Fish Market compound in Kingstown.

These activities include three fish nights in Calliaqua on April 26, Barrouallie on May 3 and Rose Place on May 10.

Beginning on May 13 and ending on May 17, Beach Seine Fishing competitions will take place, with a junior and female competition on May 18.

An exhibition featuring “Tots in Marine Life” will also take place on May 17.

The grand finale event will take place in Calliaqua on May 20, Fisherman’s Day.

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