The fisheries industry which took a huge blow after Hurricane Maria has come a long way since then according to the Hon Minister for Fisheries, Reginald Austrie.
He says much has been done to alleviate the plight of fishers and the evidence is in the retained catch.
Hon Austrie says in 2017, there was a huge deficit compared to the several hundred thousand pounds recorded in 2016 and 2018 but says fishers have been well-supported since then.
“A total of EC $2.4m was provided through the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Programme sponsored by the World Bank to provide to provide cash assistance to fisherfolk.
“Three hundred and sixty-five fishers benefitted from this programme; 165 of them received grants of up to $10,000 while another 198 received grants of $3,000.
“The Ministry further assisted fishers in the financial year 2019/2020 with engines and the purchase and construction of boats and fishing supplies at a cost of $602,616.”
After Hurricane Maria, the Ministry was also concerned about the proper storage of catch of the fishermen, as there was a shortage of ice in areas outside of Portsmouth and Roseau.
The Ministry responded by purchasing three ice machines for strategic villages across the island at a cost of EC $120,000. They were installed at Anse de Mai, Vielle Case and Soufriere/Scott’s Head.
“We also worked with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to provide a grant of EC $160,000 for the purchase of an additional two units for Roseau,” Minister Austrie revealed.
Landing sites have been rehabilitated in some parts of the island including Fond St. Jean at a cost of $250,000.
Discussions are currently ongoing regarding updating landing sites in San Sauveur, Stowe and Capuchin.
According to the Hon Fisheries Minister, a $67.5m agreement with the World Bank will mean further development of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.