With climate change and unsustainable practices threatening the global fishing industry, and by extension, the local sector, the Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, is seeking to promote responsible fisheries management.
"Fishing Sustainably in a Changing Climate" is the theme of a pilot community-based?? sustainable fishing festival slated to be held?? at Consett?? Bay, St. John, on Friday, December 4,
The festival, organised in observation of World Fisheries Day, which is celebrated on November 21, seeks to safeguard the fishing industry.?? This sector is said to provide direct or indirect employment or income-generation for over 6,000 Barbadians.
In giving the rationale for the event, Environmental Education Officer, Donna King-Brathwaite explained: "The overall objective is to foster best practices in fishing in the face of climate change. The idea is to engender sustainable living at the community level – this is where we must start."
The festival will be officially opened at 10:30 a.m. by Government officials. However, activities will get underway from as early as 9:15 a.m., when school children from the area will get a first-hand look at the tools and equipment used in the fishing industry.?? They will also experience the art of boatbuilding and learn more about food safety, storage and handling during tours of the boatyard and fish market.
Visitors will get the opportunity to recognise different types of fish, freshly caught from the ocean and in packaged form, during a "Know Your Fish" Taste Seminar at 9:45 a.m. Fishing experts will demonstrate what to look for in terms of freshness and quality when purchasing fish.
At 11:00 a.m., students from primary schools in the area will display their knowledge of this vital industry, when they make presentations on the importance of the fishing sector and how it relates to climate change.
At noon, specially invited guests will be treated to an inspired lunch featuring some of the best fish dishes Consett Bay has to offer. The menu will include cou cou and flying fish, fish and chips, fisherman’s grub, grilled fish, fish cakes and more.
At 1:00 p.m., Government departments and agencies, which work in the area of the environment, fisheries and agriculture, will host an educational exhibition covering topics ranging from sustainable fishing to eco-system conservation.
A closed informal round-table will be held at 2:00 p.m. on the topic: "Sustainable fishing in the Changing Climate". Government officials, Non Governmental Organisations, fisherfolk and residents will discuss policies, strategies and the causes and effects of climate change on the fishing industry. They will also dialogue on ways in which fisherfolk and fishing communities can be assisted.
A Fish Fry, slated to get under way at 5:00 p.m., will bring the curtain down on the inaugural festival.
Educational demonstrations will also be a feature of the day’s proceedings. In addition to learning about the conversion of cooking oil into biodiesel, and how this can be used as an alternative fuel source for fishing vessels, patrons will gain insight into programmes, such as the Sea Turtle Project, which seeks to preserve the ocean’s biodiversity.
Information will also be provided on the Slow Food Movement, in particular the Slow Fish aspect, which aims to inform consumers about ecological, sustainable and replicable types of fishing and consumption. It is also designed to raise awareness of the need to protect fish biodiversity through responsible consumer behavior.