Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, speaking at the reopening of the Pile Bay Fish Landing Facility this morning. (A. Reid/BGIS)

The modernisation of Barbados’ fishing industry is well underway with the renovation of five fish markets and planned improvements at an additional three.

The Pile Bay Fish Landing Facility has joined the list of renovated markets featuring top quality material on the countertops, which allows it to meet the phytosanitary standards required for exporting fish.

Renovated at a cost of $1.5 million by the Barbados Port Inc. (BPI), the market, known for its Sunday limes and bustling business, is now disabled friendly and outfitted with solar panels on the roof, in support of Government’s thrust towards renewable energy. It also features lighting designed to protect hatchling turtles, and has a variety of plants.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, described the facility as a “full total blue economy package’’ as he addressed the official opening ceremony this morning.

Mr. Humphrey stated that he was pleased that his Ministry was able to bring to fruition a vision that was “started a while ago”.

He noted: “We had to change how we were doing things, and where we were doing things.  I felt there was a need for us to modernise the fishing industry in a way that was sustainable…and a way that would respect and protect future generations.”

He explained that it was necessary for fishermen to be able to fish, but in a way that was sustainable, using available technology to make it easier for them to hunt for fish.

“Fish Aggregating Devices (FADS), which we put all around Barbados, the fish would gather there, and fishermen would know where to go and get fish. That is transformative,” Mr. Humphrey said.

The Pile Bay Fish Landing Facility has been renovated at a cost of $1.5 million and is now disabled friendly and outfitted with solar panels on the roof, in support of Government’s thrust towards renewable energy. It also features lighting designed to protect hatchling turtles, and has a variety of plants. (A. Reid/BGIS)

He also outlined plans for a tuna project, which would allow fishermen to catch tuna and loin it in Barbados to get more value.

“We are also looking at giving fishermen access to vessels through a lease-to-own arrangement, which we have already started,” the Minister added.

Chairman of the BPI, Peter Odle, said Pile Bay was “dear” to the BPI, and noted that the new facility added to the charm of the beach and had become a “safe haven” from the “hustle and bustle” of the Port of Bridgetown.

However, he stressed the need to prioritise sustainability in a blue economy, which was at the threshold of a new wave of industrialisation and exploitation of the ocean that held the promise of more innovation, economic growth and jobs.

“Efforts must be made, therefore, to ensure that maritime industries, the use of ocean space and resources are ecologically sustainable, and that economic activities pursued are in balance with the long term carrying capacity of the ecosystems,” he said, noting that this was at the core of the Port of Bridgetown’s strategic vision.

Mr. Odle also disclosed that the BPI had signalled its intention to become involved in the refurbishment of the Weston Fish Market in St. James, which is currently at the design stage.

Today’s reopening of the Pile Bay Fish Landing Facility, with the unveiling of the plaque by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, adds it to the list of renovated markets. They are: the Berinda Cox Fish Market; the Bridgetown Fishing Complex; the Tent Bay Fish Market and the Speightstown Fish Market.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy is presently carrying out renovations at Paynes Bay and Consett Bay Fish Markets.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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