Nikola Simpson (GP)
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BARBADOS STANDS TO net major gains if it focuses on sustainable fishing.
Not only will it reduce the food import bill, but help Barbadians adopt healthier eating habits.
This was emphasised by Nikola Simpson, a member of Slow Food Barbados and a director of the recently formed and related initiative Slow Fish.
“For small-island developing states like Barbados our oceans are a critical element to our survival. We rely on them for the oxygen that we breathe, fisheries, tourism, transport and more. However, the oceans face many threats including coastal development, pollution, overfishing, climate change and the introduction of invasive species,” information on the Slow Fish venture stated.
“Through our local initiatives, we at Slow Fish Barbados focus on promoting sustainable fishing methods, supporting responsible artisanal fisherfolk and providing opportunities for public participation with cooking demos and competitions as well as educational talks.”
It added: “We encourage fisherfolk and consumers to think about the journey of their fish from bait to plate. When buying fish, be an educated and responsible consumer and ask the following: where did the fish come from? What methods were used to catch them? Is it in season?”
Simpson told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that to spread the message about this initiative there would be visits to fish markets and landing sites.
This was in addition to sharing of information about them and the promotion of sustainable fisheries in an effort to help people understand what it is and why it is necessary. Research would also be undertaken.
Speaking about the wider Slow Food programme, Simpson said the organisation is working on helping to reduce Barbados’ high food import bill.
“We can grow so much more here in Barbados. Some of our other initiatives work with chefs, farmers and the Organic Growers and Consumers Association. Through that, we provide links such as farmers to restaurants and be that intermediate body to connect the farmers to the restaurants and the hotels, so they have another avenue to sell their produce,” she said.
“We definitely promote everything local, support your local farmers, fishers as well because quite often we forget them, and the producers. That is one of the principles of Slow Food as well that we try to promote, that it’s good, clean and fair, fair to the producers.”
Slow Food Barbados is steadily spreading its message helping students and teachers create and sustain school garden programmes through its educational gardens programme.
The long term aim is to help reduce Barbados’ high food import bill while teaching the youth to “reconnect with their food by teaching them how to grow, cook and enjoy fresh, locally grown food”.
The organisation is a “not-for-profit” entity that comprises “a community of like-minded individuals, farmers, chefs, restaurateurs, food producers, educators and foodies that have joined together to help build a stronger food system” which “in turn enhances food security for our island, supports communities, and cares for the environment in which we live”. (GBM)