A week of activities to celebrate World Fisheries Day in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was launched here at a press conference on November 21, 2023 at the CELAC Food and Nutrition Security Centre. Several entities joined forces to boost and recognise the impact of the fisheries sector. World Fisheries Day, commemorated annually on November 21, will see an extension of the celebrations which commence from Dec 1 – Dec 7, 2023. The theme for this year’s celebrations is: “Investing in social protection to secure equitable blue transformation in the fisheries sector.”
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour, Hon. Saboto commended and thanked the fisherfolk of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for their excellent work and emphasised that food and nutrition security are important pillars in the quest to develop this country and the region and further stated ensuring that a world, moving towards zeroing hunger is imperative. The Fisheries Minister expressed his appreciation towards the efforts of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the SVG Zero Hunger Trust Fund for organising the event.
Minister Caesar alluded to the National Fleet expansion programme currently being implemented, and noted that several fishers have already benefitted significantly from the KCCU/Government of SVG led initiative which is an example of the “expression of political will… as active partners to support the fisherfolk of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.” Minister Caesar added that the Fleet Expansion programme will be expanded in 2024.
Sharing details of the upcoming activities, Executive Director of the SVG Zero Hunger Trust Fund, Safiya Horne-Bique indicated that the team will head into communities from December 1, where fish fests will be staged and local fish products will be on showcased. Bique-Horne also added that engagement of the fisherfolk will see the distribution of equipment to demonstrate sustainable fishing practises. The Executive Director noted that activities will be held on the Windward and Leeward sides of the island and in the Grenadines. Bique-Horne also disclosed that the engagement of the youth , vendors and stakeholders during this period is paramount.
FAO National Correspondent, Dr. Coleen Phillips congratulated the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour, the SVG Zero Hunger Trust Fund, and the CRFM for their efforts and stated that globally fishing industries and fishing communities come together to share activities such as rallies and fish fests to mark the occasion. Dr. Phillips revealed that in addition to the fish fest being held in SVG, a local campaign will emerge throughout the schools where fish safety will be among other topics being addressed.
Program Manager of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Dr. Maren Headley noted that the CRFM looks forwards to working with all entities on board for the implementation of the activities in the coming weeks. Dr. Headley said work is being done with the fisherfolk to support their livelihoods through sustainable management and varying resources; while aiming to contribute to the provision of safe, nutritious and sufficient fish.
Senior Fisheries Officer of the department of Fisheries, Ferique Shortte, was also present at the launch.