Parliamentary Representative for the fishing capital of Gouyave and Minister with special responsibility for Fisheries and Forestry, Hon Alvin Da Breo, calls on Fisher folk in Grenada to be cognizant of the fact that their role and contribution to Grenada’s sustainable development is a significant one and should not be taken lightly.
Addressing the formal opening of the 2017 Fisherman’s Birthday Celebration on the beach in Gouyave last Thursday DaBreo said too often as a people, we tend to trivialise the importance of the industry to national development.
In so doing, the Minister said, we forget that given the importance of fish to the human diet and the preservation of food security, the day June 29th has worldwide implication; a day he noted when the world pauses to recognise the contribution made by fisherfolk all over.
It is for this reason Minister Da Breo said, his government is taking all necessary steps to ensure that investments made by fisher folk are secure through the installation of lights and fish aggregating devices along the western end of the island, exploring new technologies that would make fishing more efficient, while increasing earnings to fisher folk, among others. Additionally, the minister said, efforts would be made to protect the fish resources. This he said would result in the coming into operation of new marine protected areas along the western and northern end of the island.
The minister commended the Ministry of Fisheries for ensuring that Grenada remains a top producer of fish worldwide and for being one of the few islands in the OECS, qualified to export fish to the European Union.
Minister Da Breo said statistics have shown that for the past three decades the fisheries sector has been one of the fastest growing sectors in the Grenadian economy. He noted, this sector saw an output of just over $6 million in 1978 to over $45 million presently and export in the same period from over $2 million to over $25 million.
Minister DaBreo said in moving forward government would seek to address a number of concerns facing the industry, among them the lack of an organised fisher folk organisation, national insurance to protect fisher folk and marine resources in the event of any disaster. The Minister noted that greater effort is required from all stakeholders for the overall development of the industry.
Also addressing the ceremony was Minister of Agriculture Hon. Yolande Bain-Horsford. She commended the fisher folk for a “splendid job” and urged them to continue making their contribution, in a manner that is safe. The Minister reminded the fisher folk that they must be receptive to changes particularly in the face of changing climatic conditions.
Grenada’s Governor-General Her Excellency Dame Cecile La Grenade urged the fisher folk to take their job seriously.
The 2017 celebration started with the usual church service at the St. Peters Cathedral where fisher folk present had their blessing from Fr. Emmanuel Effiong. This was followed by a procession along the streets of Gouyave, the blessing of the boats and laying of the wreath in memory of those whose lives were lost at sea during the year.
The ceremony climaxed in the usual fashion with bacchanal on the streets of Gouyave.