Barbadians have been urged to manage the island???s marine environment to ensure the longevity of this ???rich natural resource??? for present and future generations.
These words of advice came from Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, as he addressed the opening ceremony of the 39th Anniversary of the Oistins Fish Festival last weekend.
While he encouraged members of the public gathered to play their part, he assured them of Government???s commitment to the island???s fishing industry and marine environment, stating that they should not be underestimated.
Mr. Blackett added: ???The importance of the fishing industry to this community and to Barbados in general cannot be overemphasised, for the industry has supported many Barbadian families over the years???.
He explained that since the festival???s inception in 1977, its growth and development has been an inspiration to Barbadians, not only earning it the distinction of being one of Barbados??? major festivals but making it a model for other neighbouring CARICOM states.
Mr. Blackett revealed that the Easter weekend festival continued to attract an increasing number of visitors from North America and Europe, as well as neighbouring Caribbean countries.
He attributed these high attendance levels to the ???high standards??? which he said continued to be showcased at the festival, adding that the organisers must be commended for maintaining these standards, as well as a hive of social and economic activity for the town???s fisher folk and small business people.
???I urge you the members of the Oistins Fish Festival Committee to continue to work together at every level to ensure the continued success of the festival,??? he added.
The Social Care Minister also used the occasion to laud the work of fisher folk across the island, who, he maintained ???work tirelessly to ensure this precious commodity which is on our tables???.
???We also commend those who are tasked with the responsibility of maintaining health and safety standards in the various fisheries complexes,??? he stated.