|Minister of Agriculture, Dr. David Estwick (second from left), showing his appreciation for the cultural presentations at the opening ceremony. At left is his wife, Marguerite Estwick.
Fisherfolk at the Berinda Cox Fish Market at Oistins can look forward to improved facilities in the coming financial year.
This was announced by Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development, Dr. David Estwick, who said the upgrading of the facility would include extensions to the sales section as well as the chill and cold storage facilities.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 2011 Oistins Fish Festival last weekend, he cited the market as "a melting pot of economic activity" and a major player in the fishery arena.
During the period from January to December last year, the Oistins market registered fish landings of 484, 599 kilograms; the equivalent of 1.7 million pounds of fish.
Presently, there are 409 registered fisher-folk at this facility; a figure which includes boat owners, fishermen, vendors, processors and boners.
According to Dr. Estwick, the upgrades to the market were both timely and necessary. "The expanding activities in the area, coupled with the international demand for fish safety and quality assurance measures, make it imperative upon us all to ensure that fish is safe for human consumption…Whilst adhering to the beliefs of good manufacturing practices, we will continue to ensure that the public can conduct its business in an environment that is of the highest standard, aesthetically pleasing and functional," he noted.
The Fisheries Minister revealed that the Oistins boatyard was also in line for some major renovations, which would involve the widening of the current slipway, fencing of the facility, improving the supply of utilities and the regrading of the boatyard surface.
Dr. Estwick added that with the hurricane season around the corner, the Fisheries Division of his ministry had acquired a 50 tonne self-powered slipway hoist to facilitate the lifting and placement of boats in the Oistins boatyard.
This, he pointed out, would ensure the affordable launching and retrieval of the increased number of fishing vessels in a timely manner.