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Fishing Industry described as "Fastest Growing Economic Sector"

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Contact: Rose Marie Harris

St. Lucian FishermanMonday, June 30, 2003 - As fishermen throughout the island celebrated the feast of St. Peter patron saint of fishermen on Sunday, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Honourable Cyprian Lansiquot says recognising the importance of the island’s fishing industry, government has and will continue to support this vital industry. With technical and financial assistance from Japan, government continues to upgrade the fish landing facilities around the island.

This has resulted in the total fish landings and the number of fishers have increased steadily over the past decade. “In 1994, our fishery landed an estimated 883 tons of fish, captured by some 525 vessels mainly operating out of 17 fish landing sites located around the coast. Last year, the catch had grown to over 1600 tons, employing more than 2100 fishers who now operate out of just over 1080 vessels. Clearly the fisheries remain as one of the fastest growing economic sectors in Saint Lucia.”

fisherman and his day's catch

fisherman and his day's catch

Lansiquot believes that despite continued effort at sustainable development there are a number of challenges facing that sector. “As a small island developing state with a small economy, our technical, human and financial resources are often limited. Hence, while programmes such as fisheries research are undertaken to facilitate improved fishing methods, increased stocks and appropriate decision making, they are often limited by these constraints. Further non compliance to existing rules and regulations weakens the ability of the sector to develop sustainable and consequently jeopardises livelihoods. Another challenge facing the industry is that of organisation and the empowerment of the fisher folks to run the affairs of the sector. The various cooperatives and groups must redouble the effort at bringing fishers together with a view to reducing cost of operation, making provision for maintaining the infrastructure at the various landing sites. The need to improve efficiency in all aspects of the business of fishing is crucial, as more and more the traditional forms of assistance that we give the agricultural sector gets challenged.”

Government remains steadfast in its support for that sector and will continue to provide training for new entrants and those already in the business. In collaboration with the various financial institutions credit will be made available for those wishing to invest in the industry.

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