Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, speaking during a consecration ceremony for his Ministry’s new headquarters today. (J. Rawlins-Bentham/BGIS)

Significant changes and enhancements to Barbados’ fishing sector, shipping legislation and fish markets have been realised over recent months.

However, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, said there were still a number of things to be accomplished over the next few years.

The Minister made these points today as he addressed a consecration ceremony for the Ministry’s new headquarters on the ground floor of Cube Blue, located in the new Barbados Port Inc. (BPI) building.

Mr. Humphrey stated that work was ongoing on the jetties at the Bridgetown Fishing Complex and the Berinda Cox Fish Market to make them more useful.

However, he pointed out that work on the markets would continue with the BPI assisting with improvements at the Pile Bay and Weston Fish Markets.

“Hopefully before the end of this month, we will announce the work we did in Pile Bay. Pile Bay is the most beautiful building in the ministry thanks to the work of the Port. Weston hopefully will be as nice. We are also working at Tent Bay to improve the conditions…. We did a lot of work across the various markets,” the Maritime Affairs Minister disclosed.

Despite this, however, Mr. Humphrey stressed the need for efficiency, particularly in water usage; and exploring additional revenue streams in markets across the country.

He further noted that the Ministry had also done tremendous work in improving the island’s shipping legislation following the last audit by the International Maritime Organization which was, according to him, “not a good audit”.

“In many ways we have actually leap-frogged.  We needed to bounce forward. In shipping we are making substantial grounds,” he assured.

He added that substantial work was also done in the fisheries sector sector with the use of FaDS (fish aggregating devices), boat building and “intelligent buoys” that provided information on different types of marine activity.

“Amazing things are happening. We are on a real mission to transformation…,” Mr. Humphrey stated, as he also outlined areas of institutional strengthening through work done with the United Nations Development Programme and the Food and Agricultural Organization.

The Minister commended the staff for work done so far and served notice that it would continue as the Ministry sought to accomplish all its targets.

He also thanked the management of the BPI for accommodating the Ministry, noting that they owed them a debt of gratitude.

Executive Officer of the BPI, David Jean-Marie, welcomed the Ministry and its staff to the building, noting that today’s event coincided with the 60th anniversary of the Port of Bridgetown.

He commended the Ministry for its development of the maritime and marine economy in Barbados over recent years, noting that the initiatives designed served to enhance the economic benefits of all stakeholders.

“You have steered this fledgling ministry towards a path of integration, expansion and re-imagination through a number of very impressive initiatives to enhance the economic benefit from the maritime resources for Barbadians, while changing the lives of persons whose livelihoods depend on the sea and ocean resources,” he said.

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