The Payne’s Bay Fish Market has reopened for business after being closed earlier this year for refurbishment.
Fisherfolk using the market will now be able to benefit from improved lighting; new cupboards and lockers; upgraded bathroom facilities; countertops which now meet the international phytosanitary standards; lower countertops which can easily be reached; an extended roof and larger sinks, in addition to a paved area to facilitate an easier haul out of fishing vessels. The market also has wheelchair access.
It was opened by Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, and Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, who unveiled a plaque during a ceremony on Monday.
During his address, Mr. Humphrey said the completion of the market formed part of the work being done by his ministry to improve the general conditions of markets across the island.
“We started in the East and we are now working at Consett Bay. We are coming all the way around; [we did work on] Oistins, [and] Bridgetown. We [also] did Pile Bay, through the [Barbados] Port Inc., and are about to do work at the Weston market, again through the Port,” the Minister explained.
He explained that work to be done at the Weston market was estimated at around $2 million, and would give the entire area a different look when completed.
Meanwhile, acting Chief Fisheries Officer, Joyce Leslie, noted that the Payne’s Bay Fish Market, which was a mere shed when it first opened in 1952, today contributed between one and two metric tonnes of fish annually and supported locals, apartment hotels, condominiums and guest houses in the St. James community.
Ms. Leslie further noted that fishing season usually ran from November to June, and contributed to between 3,000 to 5,000 metric tonnes of fish annually.
“This involves a number of economic activities from boat building, to fishing, vending, processing and the employment of 3,000 persons directly, and 5,000 indirectly. It is based on the involvement of the public and private sector,” she stated.
Ms. Leslie added that the economic contribution of the fishing industry was averaged at between BDS $16 and $20 million annually, but a 2007 value added assessment done showed it could be valued at over $50 million, with an estimated export value of $1.6 million.