At least 100 young Barbadians will receive training in various areas of the fishing industry, as the Government seeks to keep the sector alive.
Today, as he delivered remarks during the 2020 Molly Awards at Consett Bay, St John, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey, announced that his Ministry has designed a programme to train young people in the rudiments of fishing, including equipping them with information about the modern way of doing things.
“We are going to roll out that programme very soon to encourage young people to get into the industry and to learn how to be safe, and the various things associated with it,” he said.
Humphrey made the announcement following remarks from Member of Parliament for St John Charles Griffith, who expressed concern that the number of fishermen operating at Consett Bay was declining, moving from 20 in 2001 to 12 at present.
Griffith said while he did not expect activities at Consett Bay to mimic the popular Friday night lime in Oistins, Christ Church, he believed the area should be more than a fishing facility, given that there is sufficient space for fisherfolk to host events for tourists who visit the location.
“We can have different stalls at this location, that we can have some of the unemployed young females and males within the constituency of St John coming to this location and engaging in wholesome activities, maybe not on Friday night to rival Oistins, but maybe another day of the week, because we need to have that activity going in the constituency of St John,” the MP said.
“I would have spoken to Minister Humphrey at some point in time as it relates to training and I am pleased, as you are aware, of where he is pushing this particular industry. I don’t need to speak for him, but the reality is that in two and a half years or less, what he would have done in the Ministry far surpassed what would have happened prior to that.”
Humphrey said his Ministry, which acknowledged that the Consett Bay Market is in need of repair, has allocated $1.5 million to that undertaking.
He said there are also plans to transform Consett Bay into an area of activity that provides an experience for tourists and locals.
“I promise you that Consett Bay and Paynes Bay [in St James] are the last two fish markets that will receive tremendous attention over the next year to two years for sure. I promise you that there will be transformation at Consett Bay,” the Minister said.
Humphrey said the Molly Awards, which coincides with the Ministry’s Blue Fest which is being celebrated November 1-7, was held to recognise persons in the fishing industry who have made significant contributions to its growth and development during the last year.
He stressed that there would be no fishing industry without fisherfolk who are the cornerstone of the industry.
“During the course of this year, we also had the privilege of recognising that the fisherfolk at the Bridgetown and Oistins markets donated a tremendous amount of fish to persons during COVID, and I am sure that fishermen on their own initiative were giving to various persons who were in need during COVID and they continue to give now,” Humphrey said.
“I feel that those things often go unnoticed, but I believe that we should give special homage now to those who give so much during that period, and I think they deserve a round of applause.”
The Molly Awards are so named in memory of Stephen ‘Molly’ Small, a fish vendor who died tragically in September 2018.
The winner of the award bearing his name was Gary Marshall, an avid fisher who repaired the jetty at Consett Bay at his own expense, including providing material and labour to get the job done.
The recipient of the Stephen Molly Small Award was said to work well with others, show interest in what is happening in the fishing industry, be very supportive of plans for improving the sector, be eager to try new fishing techniques, and conduct good fish handling and storage practices.
Marshall also actively participated in a tagging of dolphin research project to track the movement of the fish in the region.