For decades, SVG fishermen have been crying out for a fish processing factory, but successive governments have failed to invest in this industry.
In 2013, SVG’s Fisherman of the Year reiterated the call for SVG to embark upon a fish processing programme. He said that government has not done enough to develop the industry and help fishermen. He pointed out that there are billions of dollars of resources in the sea and thinks more could be done to utilise those resources.
Today, in 2022, our fishing industry is still undervalued, under-resourced and under-utilised. Fish is a multi-billion dollar industry and is a gold mine for SVG. However, rather than focus on the multi-billion dollar fish industry, the ULP regime still rely on an economic policy of begging and borrowing as the engine of the SVG economy.
They have mismanaged the SVG economy with massive fiscal deficits for the past 20 years.
Taiwan creams off billions of dollars from SVG’s deep sea fish licence. SVG would be much better off replacing Taiwan with the cheap technology and ships necessary to do deep sea fishing on our own licence. This would create many jobs in the deep sea fishing industry and hundreds more jobs in SVG in the factories needed to process and can the fish.
If we used our own tuna fishing licence and had fish processing factories, SVG would have earned hundreds of millions of dollars a year. We could be processing and canning fish not just caught by SVG fishing vessels, but fishing vessels from neighbouring countries too.
This money would lift SVG out of poverty, help eradicate illiteracy and gross criminality, and also bring down the high unemployment rate. Having our own fishing and fish processing industry will not only make our economy more healthy, but our people too.
A large part of the brain is made up of omega-3 fats, making them vital for healthy brain function. In fact, 60% of the fats in the brain are omega-3 with DHA, a type of omega-3 fat found in fish, being the main type.
Omega-3 fats are essential for healthy brain development both in the womb and in early childhood.
As in Zanzibar, a Green government would provide credit facilities to help fisherfolk, and unemployed young women and men, to engage in fishing. It is important to empower women to run their own businesses and in the process, help to fight poverty. In Zanzibar, a rejuvenated fishing and canning industry has created hundreds of new jobs in secondary local industries such as ice-making plants, cold-storage services, boat-building yards, workshops to make fishing nets and engine repair and maintenance workshops.
A Green Government would create a tuna fishing industry and fish processing for export. Fish will then be affordable for all families. A multi-billion dollar fish industry will play a pivotal part in promoting good health, creating hundreds of jobs and bringing prosperity for all in SVG.
There’s no reason for our people to be suffering high levels of unemployment and poverty and having to endure high taxes and high water and electricity bills. We simply need to use our sea resources better and set up our own fish processing and canning industry.