Government Commits to Growing Aquaculture Sector to Improve Food Security in St. Kitts and Nevis
Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 15, 2021 (SKNIS): Dr. Marc Williams, Director of the Department of Marine Resources, said that St. Kitts and Nevis is committed to growing the aquaculture sector as it will serve as an extremely important method to improving food and nutrition security.
The statement was made during his appearance on the September 15 edition of ‘Working for You’ where he touched on the number of fish produced locally as opposed to what is imported. Dr. Williams said that St. Kitts and Nevis is importing two-thirds of the fish that we consume and only producing one-third.
“We have approximately 450 tonnes being produced and 850 tonnes being imported. What’s compounded in this problem as well, is the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic happened and with the pandemic, we are finding that countries are unwilling to trade with St. Kitts and Nevis in terms of their best fish resources…” said Director Williams. “So, the Federation needs to ensure that we are able to produce food for our total consumption which is approximately 1300 tonnes, and supplant some of these 850 tonnes being imported. And to guarantee that fish will be produced in a given period of time aquaculture is the only way.”
Dr. Williams noted that climate change has negatively impacted marine life, hence the importance of committing to aquaculture.
“When you look at the traditional marine captured species we see that we are affected by climate change and land-based sources of marine pollution which have caused a decrease in the fish landed on a regular basis,” he said. “From 1995 to 2020, we see fluctuation in the marine and captured species year in and year out, and the only way that we see that we could eliminate some of this variability in the landing is through aquaculture. It gives the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis an almost guaranteed expectation of fish that can be produced within a given period of time.”
The director said that aquaculture isn’t new to St. Kitts and Nevis. He recalled the introduction of the Shrimp Farm in Conaree in the 1980s followed later by a Tilapia Farm.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), aquaculture is the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of fish, shellfish, algae, and other organisms in all types of water environments. It is a method used to produce food and other commercial products, restore habitat and replenish wild stocks and rebuild populations of threatened and endangered species.