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Fisheries officials want to see improvement in sector

Fisheries officials want to  see improvement in sector

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On the occasion of the 39th anniversary of Fisherman’s Day celebrations in St Vincent and the Grenadines, calls are being made for an improvement in the local fishing sector.{{more}}

The launch of the month of activities leading up to the 2014 Fisherman’s Day festivities was held last Friday at the fishing complex in Kingstown.

In opening remarks, Winsbert Harry, the chair of the Fisherman’s Day Committee, took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of this year’s theme: “Fishing for today’s family creates a healthy society.”

He stated that the theme, along with its slogan, “Fish to survive and thrive”, highlights the direct link between the fish product being offered to consumers and the fisherman’s income.

“[We must be] mindful that the fish and fish products are a good source of essential nutrients needed for proper growth and good health,” the chair said.

“We are hereby encouraging the public to consume more fish. Fishers and vendors are asked to improve on the quality of fish offered on the market. It is important that freshly caught fish be handled properly as to prevent spoilage.”

President of the National Fisherfolk Organization (NFO) Eocen Victory emphasized the significance of developments that should take place in the fishing industry, in order for it to survive and thrive.

While delivering his address, Victory called for the Permanent Secretary and the Minister responsible for Fisheries to encourage meetings where fisherfolk could be involved in the decision making for the development of the industry.

“Before today, decisions made at the top were handed down to us. We want to change that direction. We want to start from the bottom up and separate them and put our views and our aims and objectives on the table so that the development of the fishing industry could come from the fisherfolk themselves,” he said.

Victory also expressed his desire to see the introduction of a programme on the national curriculum, which speaks to the fishing industry.

“We want to see the youths be more involved, so we want the fishing to be put on school curriculum,” he said.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Raymond Ryan stated that the month of activities, including the Fisherman’s Day event, is one that showcases the livelihoods of fishers and the importance of the fishing industry to the development of the national economy.

“The fisheries sector, including aquaculture, will continue to play an important role in the economy of St Vincent and the Grenadines and contribute significantly to domestic food security, national GDP and social and economic stability,” he said.

As he predicted that the demand for fish products will continue to grow, Ryan echoed Victory’s sentiments to see more youths involved in the fishing industry.

The Permanent Secretary stated that the aim of the sector is to attract more young people, “however, to do so, the sector must be modernized and provide a full range of facilities and services to support a modern efficient economic growth sector.”

Ryan took the opportunity to congratulate the various entities who consistently host the National Fisherman’s Day activity each year.

This year, events include a beach clean-up in Clare Valley on May 17, Fisheries and Food Exhibition in Barrouallie on May 22 and a Fun Day and Fish Night in Barrouallie, as well as a Beach clean-up in Rose Place on May 31.

The Beach Seine Competitions will be hosted from June 2 to June 6, while the Tots in Marine Life event will take place at the Peace Memorial Hall on June 6.

A beach splash is expected to take place in Rose Place and the Female and Junior Fishing Competitions on June 7.

The New Birth Ministries in Rose Place will host a church service on June 8 and the grand finale – Fisherman’s Day Festivities will take place in Calliaqua on June 9. (BK)

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