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Fisheries embarks on Fleet Expansion Programme

Fisheries embarks on Fleet Expansion Programme

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The Fisheries sector is dominated by small enterprises of relatively low efficiency, capacity and safety.

In fact there are approximately 600 fishing vessels operating in the waters of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}} The local fishing fleet comprises primarily small open boats constructed from wood or fiberglass. These vessels include flat transom boats (bow and stern boats or dories) pirogues, double enders and canoes.

They are usually propelled by outboard engines ranging from 6 -115 HP and range in length from 3 -10m (11- 30ft). A small but growing number of long liners are included in the fishing fleet. These vessels are powered by inboard marine diesel engines ranging from 90 – 475 hp, and are outfitted with modern navigational and fishing equipment. They range from 34.7 – 70 in length and may be outfitted to use surface longline, trolling line, bottom longline and traps.

The development of requisite infrastructure 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 suggest that target group incomes can be significantly increased through improved marketing and distribution of fish and fish products.

While development of the post harvest sub sector is important, emphasis must be placed on the harvesting sub sector through increased fishing capacity and the introduction of appropriate fishing technologies.

It is for this reason that substantial financial and technical assistance is being provided under the recently introduced fleet expansion programme. Although the main focus of this assistance is the acquisition of vessels and appropriate fishing gear, emphasis would be placed on the development of the skills of stakeholders in the use of modern fish vessels and gear, small business operations, the development of business plans, marketing and access to insurance.

It is anticipated that the improved vessel capacity and fishing technology will transform the daily operations to sustainable commercial enterprises thereby facilitating increased productivity.

Specifically, this programme will address the following problems:

(1) Inadequate vessel capacity and safety standards.

(2) Inappropriate fishing gear and methods.

(3) Absence of adequate/basic training in areas such as navigation, safety at sea, fish handling and gear and methods.

(4) Inadequate skills and knowledge in small scale business management and marketing

(5) Inadequate supply of fish to consumers

The fleet expansion programme is multifaceted and the Fisheries Division and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have established linkages with a number of organizations.

It is anticipated that the following specific outcomes would be realized

The increased access to appropriately designed multipurpose fishing vessel and fishing gear with assistance from the private sector.

Development of a business and marketing plan for the fishing operation with assistance from the Centre for enterprise development.

Fishers trained to by the Fisheries Division to operate fishing vessels and gear.

Fishers trained to manage and operate small businesses with assistance from the Centre for enterprise development and National Development Foundation.

Access to marine insurance for vessels purchased under the programme though the insurance brokers as sanctioned by the Insurance Association

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