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PM approves increased rebates for fishermen

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Contact: Prime Minister's Press Secretary

Thursday, October 5, 2006 - Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Honourable Kenny Anthony has approved another increase in the fuel quota for which a rebate is available to local fishermen.

The new increase, which came into force on the first day of this month, was necessitated by the increased horsepower of engines used by fishermen, raised the fuel subsidy quotas for each fisher from the original 3,600 gallons to 4,500 gallons – a 900-gallon increase.

Under the arrangement, which was announced while OECS Fisheries Ministers met here late last month to discuss fishing and maritime cooperation issues, Saint Lucian fishers will receive a rebate of 75 cents on every gallon of gas purchased.

Chief Fisheries Officer in the Department of Fisheries, Mr. Vaughan Charles, says local fishers, who have been increasing their catch through increasing their horsepower, have welcomed the new development.

He pointed out that the initial quota for the rebate was 2,000 gallons, which was subsequently increased to 3,600 gallons.

“With the current increase to 4,500 gallons,” he added, “fishers will be earning rebates consonant with the increase in the capacity of their engines.”

But not all of the rebates go directly into the pockets or bank accounts of the fishermen.

Mr Charles explained that part of the arrangement is for “15 cents from each 75 cents got on each gallon to go to the individual fisher’s shares in their related fisheries cooperative and 10 cents from every other dollar goes into a distress fund on which the can draw in times of need.”

The Chief Fisheries Officer says the increase in the gallon quota for fishermen is “an important development in the sector, as it represents Government's recognition of the fishing industry and its contribution to coastal livelihoods, employment in coastal communities and the overall economic development of the country.”

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