Marketing and Funding Identified as Major Challenges for the Department of Marine Resources
Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 16, 2021 (SKNIS): Maritza Queeley, Port State Control Officer within the Department of Marine Resources, has identified the marketing of goods and products, as well as funding, as major challenges for the sector. The announcement was made during her appearance on the September 15 edition of Working for You.
“The challenges of marketing our goods and products are of concern and we are now looking at the value chain development of fish and fisheries product, not just looking at it from capture or harvesting species, but throughout the entire process to marketing stage and that is very important,” said Ms. Queeley.
Ms. Queeley said that training is an important tool that can help solve the issue. She added that the department has a robust training programme aimed at keeping the general public informed.
“These challenges can be categorized by training and capacity-building of persons, training personnel within the marine sector,” she said. “We have a robust training division which is the Ecosystem Management Division where we target our youth, general public and other stakeholders, training them in fisheries jobs and not waiting until they are at a particular age to enlighten them about the job opportunities that are out there regarding marine resources. But starting at a young age is very important for us to build capacity.”
The Port State Control Officer also touched briefly on the issue of funding, noting that the idea of generating revenue must be considered.
“If we are to look at the value chain and look at every aspect where we can generate revenue from the point of harvesting to marketing, then we would be in a better position in generating and managing our funding so we can provide these training, as well as implement and employ staff to execute our Fisheries Aquaculture and Marine Resources Act,” she said. “The Act accounts for enforcement, ecosystem management and a number of other activities that in the long run, if we are to be sustainable as a department and as the resources are to be sustainable, we must look at those various aspects.”
Other areas of concern mentioned were research and development. Ms. Queeley said that researchers are needed to go out and monitor the resources. She noted that in doing so, the department will be better able to make proper management decisions including “what stocks need to be monitored and which need to be harvested more or probably restricted.” She said if the Federation has that capacity and is to push forward, St. Kitts and Nevis and by extension, the marine resources sector will be in a much better position.