The world celebrates World Oceans Day – June 8th, 2021, and the Fisheries Department in St, Vincent and the Grenadines is calling on fisheries stakeholders globally to invest sustainably in our seas and oceans. The theme for World Oceans Day 2021 is – “The Ocean: Life and Livelihood”.
The opening of the Argyle International Airport has created a direct link between fisheries investors in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and markets internationally. The Minister of Fisheries, Hon. Saboto Caesar, has advanced, that, “A commercial fisheries sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a critical part of the modern developmental frontier, which will enable significant economic growth for our local economy, but it must be done sustainably”. The Hon. Minister, further expanded, that the opportunities which are currently presenting themselves in the blue economy must be explored by all. “We must get beyond the, I can’t swim and the sea has no backdoor barriers”, the Minister chided.
The public/private partnership platform, which provides an opportunity for the private sector to lease government owned fisheries export facilities, has increased the island’s capacity to process more fish caught locally or landed for transshipment. The completion of the Rainforest seafood processing plant, will also provide additional capacity for our fishers to access additional local, regional and international markets.
Lending agencies, artisanal fishers, local investors, established fish processors locally, regionally and internationally, environmentalist, SVG Bureau of Standards and the Department of Fisheries will all play pivotal roles in ensuring that we protect the resources of our blue economy.
The Fisheries Department reported that for the past three decades, it has provided relevant information to stakeholders on the status and trends of our fisheries sector. It also stressed the importance of implementing proper data collection systems by our fisheries, since sound knowledge of the status and trends of capture fisheries will assist in the development of meaningful policies and greater stakeholder participation. In SVG the harvesting of all sea turtles was prohibited from 1st January 2017. Further, there is a ban on the harvesting of parrot fish. The Fisheries Department in conjunction with the SVG Environment Fund, National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority established a turtle sanctuary at Colonaire and advanced the development of sites at Sandy Bay at the Big Sands Beach and Sans Souci. The current ridge to reef protection initiative, pursed by the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines will provide an excellent framework for citizens to participate in viable ecosystem management structures.
During the months of June and July the public consultation with stakeholders in the fisheries sector will continue as we work towards revising our national fisheries and marine resource management policy.
The Department of Fisheries takes this opportunity to wish the world a blessed World Oceans Day 2021.