Fisherfolk said they have given away more than a tonne of fish to feed needy families struggling to make ends meet in the COVID-19 crisis.
Captain and owner of fishing vessel Natalie 9139 Everton Brathwaite officially handed over the fish to the Ministry of People Empowerment at the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex and promised more to come.
The fisherman told reporters that almost all the owners of fishing vessels made a contribution to the worthy cause, declaring the fisherfolk’s commitment to help feed the poor.
Brathwaite said: “It is just the fisher folks that get together and everybody donated a fish, whether it is a tuna, dolphin, marlin of whatever, everybody donate a fish to the cause. We have a thousand pounds plus. We have the plus because they are still in the process of being prepared and packaged.
“And, boats are still coming in and donating fish. Whenever the boats go out there and bring in fish they are supposed to donate a fish to the donation. Once the COVID is around, we want to be around.”
The fisherman noted that while businesses on the island were closed due to the pandemic, the fishing industry was not interrupted.
“Other people were interrupted but we were here all the time so everybody say, ‘yes man, that is a good idea; let us donate the fish,” Brathwaite said.
Minister of People Empowerment Cynthia Forde thanked the men and women of the fishing industry for the donation which she said would go a long way in helping families.
Forde said that while her ministry’s social workers are on the road distributing food hampers across the island on a daily basis, the fish will be a valuable addition to the packages.
The Minister noted that recently, pork producers donated 1,000 pounds of pork to needy families. Egg producers have already started offering assistance and she indicated that she expected dairy producers to do the same because assisting the disadvantaged is a national effort.
“I want to thank the farmers for what they are doing for the people of Barbados at this time,” Forde said.
Minister of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey who also attended the presentation, said the donation was necessary to ensure that the vulnerable have access to protein.
Humphrey, who thanked the fisherfolk for the commendable job in making the donation, indicated that Government deliberately did not stop fishing or close the fish market during the shutdown because the men and women in the industry are a part of the essential services.
“The history of fishing in Barbados has been such that it has been a very important and integral part of what we do,” Humphrey said. [email protected]
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