|Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development, Dr. David Estwick|
As part of its efforts to realise the full potential of the local fishing industry, Government is seeking to put an adequate and modern legislative framework in place.
To this end, new safety legislation for fishing vessels was recently approved by Cabinet.
This was revealed by Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development, Dr. David Estwick, who said the legislation would prescribe standards for the construction, inspection, outfitting and operation of local fishing vessels to ensure their safety and that of their crews while at sea.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2011 Oistins Fish Festival last weekend, he added that a new fisheries policy which will be supported by updated fisheries legislation was presently being considered by Government.
Such initiatives, Dr. Estwick indicated, would set a new direction for the local industry.
The Fisheries Minister stressed that the industry also has the potential to make an even greater contribution to the national economy.
According to him, it could enhance economic growth and lead to sustainable development in terms of investment opportunities, growth in employment, increased government revenue and provide nutritional and health benefits for Barbadians.
"A plentiful supply of fish translates into a cheap source of valuable protein. At a time when the cost of food has seemingly spiralled out of control worldwide, a healthy fish diet can be a measure of economic salvation," Dr. Estwick maintained.
At the regional level, the Fisheries Minister pointed out that Government’s focus will be placed on ensuring that Barbados recaptures its fair regional market share.
He stressed that this could reap tremendous benefits for Barbados, since increased agricultural productivity, coupled with the realisation of enhanced fishing yields, could lead to higher production in the agro-processing sector.