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Ministry: Fisherfolk to benefit from new measures


Ministry: Fisherfolk to benefit from new measures
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy has outlined developments in the industry. (Picture by Lennox Devonish)

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The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy is working to improve conditions for fisherfollk.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Sonia Foster, outlined some of these benefits, as she addressed the virtual opening ceremony of a training programme hosted by the Pinelands Creative Workshop, in collaboration with the ministry on Monday.

While speaking on the topic “Supporting the Blue Economy through Social Enterprise”, Foster said the ministry also proposed to install and deploy Fish Aggregating Devices (FADS) in Barbados’ territorial waters to increase fish catch, according to a statement issued by Barbados Government Information Service.

She explained that FADS were floating objects designed and strategically placed to attract and maintain pelagic fish stock in the area.

These include Amber Fish, Bonito, Dolphin (Mahi Mahi), Marlin, Rainbow Runners, Skipjack, Swordfish, Tuna, Turpics, and Wahoo (Kingfish).

“These will significantly increase catches while allowing fishermen to remain in our territorial waters,” she explained, noting that pelagic fish lived within five miles, using the FADS as a home base.

Foster said the ministry was also working on a new fisheries policy and updated Fisheries Management Act in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

In addition, she said the Ministry had recently facilitated the signing of a project: Sustainable Fish Value Chains for Small Island Developing States with the FAO to improve the social, environment and economic benefits of the pelagic fishery in Barbados.

“This project has the potential to take the benefits of the Blue Economy directly to the fisherfolk . . . . It will improve their capacity, improve their revenues, generate better decision-making information and support their stewardship through participation in management of the fishery,” the Permanent Secretary said.

Foster explained that improved transparency in the fish chain through improved data collection and traceability on tuna and other pelagic species would be achieved through the project.

She added that it would also support increased compliance with regulatory requirements concerning food safety, quality and legality, and increased support for the adherence to buyer requirements.

“The pelagic fishery is also expected to become more resilient to climate change impacts and [is] aligned with climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts,” Foster said. (BGIS)