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Safety boat laws get nod

Yvette Best

Safety boat laws get nod

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SAFETY LEGISLATION for fishing vessels has recently been approved by Cabinet.
Speaking a the opening of the Oistins Fish Festival on Saturday, Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick said the legislation “prescribes standards for the construction, inspection, outfitting and operation of local fishing vessels to ensure their safety and that of their crew whilst at sea”.
“A new fisheries policy, supported by new fisheries legislation is presently being considered. It is anticipated that such initiatives will set a new direction for the local industry,” Estwick said.
The minister said the resuscitation of the agricultural sector had to be seen as the mechanism that would drive Barbados to regain its competitive edge.
“Agriculture will never be the mainstay of our local economy again. Nevertheless, we all have a responsibility to ensure that it is the best provider that it can be. The fishing industry has the potential also to make a much greater contribution,” Estwick stated.
Nationally, Estwick said, agriculture could enhance the economic growth and lead to sustainable development for investment opportunities, growth in employment and increased Government revenue. 
Noting that the Government was not trying to dissuade anyone from enjoying their love affair with chicken, lamb, beef or proper pork, Estwick said “we should be encouraged to make the fullest use of the array of fish species that frequent our shores”.
“A plentiful supply of fish translates into a cheap source of valuable protein,” he said.
“At a time when the cost of food has seemingly spiralled out of control worldwide, a healthy fish diet and can be a measure of economic salvation.” 
At the regional level, the minister said, Government will be focused on ensuring Barbados recaptures its fair market share. He said the revised Treaty Of Chaguaramas had provisions that allowed for ready access to regional markets for uninhibited export of goods and services.
And at the international level, he said, Barbados had become a signatory to the World Trade Organisations Agreement On The Application Of Sanitary And Phytosanitary Measures.
“Accordingly, our country now has the right and the responsibility to enforce measures that are necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health,” Estwick stated.
He said the Agriculture Health and Food Control Programme would ensure that Barbados could compete globally with its agricultural produce and products. 
Compliance with international requirements would translate into market access within the European Union for fish and fish-related products, he said. (YB)