Basseterre Fisheries Complex to offer more products

LorinstonAsimJenkins-1Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): The Basseterre Fisheries Complex will soon be offering a wider variety of fish and products, thanks to a Processing and Techniques Development Project which is scheduled to begin today (August 27).

Acting Fisheries Manager Lorinston Asim Jenkins revealed that the Complex will be closed for approximately 17 days (three weeks), in order to facilitate the Project which includes staff training and receiving new equipment. He outlined what can be expected.

“You will have more varieties of fish for sale including gar and ballahoo,” Mr. Jenkins explained. “Before we didn’t actually sell them, but now with this project, people will have the opportunity to come and get our new products – such as fish fillet, fish patties, fish burgers. So you will have less food preparation to do, you just have to cook the products when you get home.

“The Processing Room is basically the section that will be focused on. The work done there includes gutting of the fish, washing, cutting etc. The Project concentrates chiefly on training and is organized by BNTF [Basic Needs Trust Fund] and the Cooperatives and it’s called Fish Processing and Techniques Development Project.”

The Project is a collaborative effort between the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) and the Fisheries Cooperative and Mr. Jenkins outlined some of the training modules.

“Some of the things they will be trained in is filleting of fish – how to debone certain types of fish like the gar and the ballahoo,” the Acting Fisheries Manager detailed. “So people can get the flesh only or the bones. They [Fisheries staff] will be vacuum packing and making fish patties and fish burgers and then offering them for sale to the general public.”

To facilitate these new tasks, the new equipment will include vacuum pack-sealers, knives including fillet knives and electrical scalers, faucets with specialized attachable hoses as well as the installation of new air curtains and foot baths. The Acting Fisheries Manager revealed that the Processing Room has to be kept sanitary at all times and before employees enter, boots have to be washed in a foot bath. He elaborated on another piece of equipment.

“The air-curtain is put in place and then the air that goes through it goes down,” Mr. Jenkins explained. “When you are dealing with fish, flies tend to come around. So when the air keeps on pushing down, the flies won’t get a chance to come in. It will just blow them back. It also keeps out moths and other insects.”

Acting Fisheries Manager Jenkins noted that the upgrades at the Basseterre Fisheries Complex will enable the facility to continue to maintain international fisheries standards, specifically to follow the procedures outlined by the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). HACCP is a systematic and preventative approach for the assurance of food safety and quality.

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