The installation and deployment of devices in the sea to increase fish are among some of the latest developments expected to bring significant benefits to the fishing sector through the blue economy.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Sonia Foster, outlined some of these benefits, as she addressed the virtual opening ceremony of a training programme hosted by the Pinelands Creative Workshop, in collaboration with the Ministry this morning,on the topic: Supporting the Blue Economy through Social Enterprise.
During her address, Ms. Foster said the Ministry also proposed to install and deploy Fish Aggregating Devices (FADS) in Barbados’ territorial waters to increase fish catch.
She explained that FADS were floating objects designed and strategically placed to attract and maintain pelagic fish stock in the area, these include Amber Fish, Bonito, Dolphin (Mahi Mahi), Marlin, Rainbow Runners, Skipjack, Swordfish, Tuna, Turpics, and Wahoo (Kingfish).
“These will significantly increase catches while allowing fishermen to remain in our territorial waters,” she explained, noting that pelagic fish lived within five miles, using the FADS as a home base.
At the same time, Ms. Foster said the Ministry was also currently working on a new Fisheries Policy and updated Fisheries Management Act in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
In addition, she pointed out that the Ministry had recently facilitated the signing of a project entitled: Sustainable Fish Value Chains for Small Island Developing States with the FAO to improve the social, environment and economic benefits of the pelagic fishery in Barbados.
“This project has the potential to take the benefits of the Blue Economy directly to the fisherfolk who are an essential element of any development in this sector. It will improve their capacity, improve their revenues, generate better decision-making information and support their stewardship through participation in management of the fishery,” the Permanent Secretary said.
Ms. Foster explained that improved transparency in the fish chain through improved data collection and traceability on tuna and other pelagic species would be achieved through the project.
She added that it would also support increased compliance with regulatory requirements concerning food safety, quality and legality, and increased support for the adherence to buyer requirements.
“The pelagic fishery is also expected to become more resilient to climate change impacts and [is] aligned with climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts,” the Permanent Secretary outlined.