A national consultation was held to chart the way forward for the fishing industry on the island.
The theme for the consultation was “Fishing-The Way Forward After Maria.” The one day consultation was organized by the National Association of Fisherfolk Cooperative Societies League Ltd (NAFCOOP) at the Prevost Cinemall on Wednesday 5 September 2018.
President of NAFCOOP Earl George said the aim of the consultation was to improve the fishing sector on the island.
“We are here to show the nation that the fisher folk matters and that the fishing sector is alive and as fishers, we are here to show that we can and do contribute to the advancement of the nation. Which marks the sectors determination to play its role in the process of building a resilient nation following the passage of Hurricane Maria,” Mr. George stated.
He explained that the consultation represents NAFCOOP’s determination to show that as an organisation they are prepared to set the pace and draw up a pathway to make the state of the fisheries and cooperative sectors better.
Mr. George said the success of fisher folks on the island requires the inputs of private and public sector.
“This is not something which will be achieved singlehandedly, it will call for the collective effort of all, including the government and various agencies as well as the private sector,” he added continuing, “This consultation is an indication that we are not going to wait for others to come to us to do it or to tell us what to do,” he remarked. “We are sending the message that we are taking matters into our own hands and are chattering our future.”
Meanwhile representative of the Fisheries Division Rennick Toussaint said “this consultation is necessary and very timely to access, review and plan for the future Post-Maria. Maria has taught us that we can’t do it alone.”
He pointed out that to move the fishing industry in Dominica forward “we must work collaboratively and in a spirit of unionism.”
Toussaint said the Cooperative Division over the years has been mandated to promote, develop, and supervise the Cooperative Sector.
“Post-Maria we saw the devastation and the department went around and did what we call a damage assessment of all the cooperatives on the island and the majority of our cooperatives are fisher folk and agriculture. What we noticed is that the majority of our cooperatives were hit severely by Maria.”
Mr. Toussaint said “a report was submitted and we worked with a number of agencies to see where we can get funds to assist affected persons on the island.”
Toussaint indicated that the process is ongoing.