Let’s Get It Fixed! PM Assures Support for Fisheries
Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Prime Minister the Right Honourable Dr Denzil Douglas pledged his support to fishermen in Old Road today (July 16) noting the importance of this sector to the country’s economic goals.
As part of his special programme, Out and About with the PM, Douglas visited the Old Road Fisheries Complex, where about 15 fishermen frequent the facilities built in 2006 with the aid of the Japanese government.
The men took the opportunity to tell the prime minister about some of the challenges they face at the complex, which is in need of upgrading and repairs. “We need a much larger storage facility to accommodate the large pelagic fish like mahi mahi, marlin and tuna,” explained 23-year-old Roger Ottley, who says additional space would enhance the possibility of supplying high-end markets like restaurants and hotels.
Other concerns were raised by the men regarding the drainage system, the importation duty on equipment and the pier, which is due to be upgraded.
The Prime Minister agreed that issues at the complex must be addressed as the fishing sector is becoming increasingly more important, especially as St. Kitts expands its tourism industry.
“I am really happy at the fact that you’re able to catch the types of fish you’ve been catching,” said Douglas. “Those are in high demand around our high-end restaurants and hotels and we want you to benefit from this demand as much as possible. Let’s get this fixed.”
In the fishing sub-sector, fish landings increased by 29.8% to 394,390 pounds with a value of $3.9 million. At no charge to the local fishermen the complex allows them to clean, store, process and market their catch daily. Some of the features include high quality refrigeration equipment, ice, sinks and tables.