Barbadian fishermen contribute millions of dollars to the gross domestic product of the country and to the healthy eating necessary for its advancement.
President of Barbados National Union of Fisherfolk Organisations, Vernel Nicholls, made this observation on Sunday, September 2013, while addressing the ceremony which was held to honour fishermen who lost their lives during Hurricane Janet and since.
“Our fishermen do not operate from offices with desks and computers, but from the decks of fishing vessels with hook lines and nets while battling the rough seas. The fishing industry has many challenges, but as an active person in the fisheries sector, it is my intention while holding the office of president, to assist in taking the industry to new heights, where the industry can be seen as one of choice and not one of last resort. This can only be achieved by introducing new and innovative ideas to the industry,” Nicholls added.
She explained that the event which paid tribute to the fisherfolk was one such idea and she pointed out that the occasion was a testimony to the challenges and the danger that fisherfolk face on a daily basis.
“Fishing is perhaps the oldest industry in Barbados and to my understanding is the only industry whereby a person leaves home to ply their trade with no assurance that they will return home, as the sea holds the mystery of the unknown. The date September 22 holds special significance in the history of Barbados and for fisherfolk. This date should be considered for dedication as a joint memorial day to fisherfolk and to the many persons who perished in Hurricane Janet, the worst natural disaster in living memory of Barbadians,” Nicholls explained.
The BARNUFO leader gave other fisherfolk the assurance that the organisation will seek permission to “replicate such a memorial as this at other landing sites as there are other fishermen from various sites who have lost their lives at sea and should be remembered in a similar way”. (NC)