Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, signing the visitors’ book onboard the Frigate ARA Libertad yesterday while Argentina’s Ambassador to Barbados, Gustavo Martinez Pandiani, looks on. (GP)

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy is presently seeking out ways to patent the skills and resources of persons in the island’s fishing industry.

Minister Kirk Humphrey made this disclosure today during a press conference on board the Frigate ARA Libertad at the Flour Mill, Mighty Grynner Highway.

“What happens in the fish market is really art.  There are very few people across the world who can bone a flying fish like Barbadians bone a flying fish.  Ocean Fisheries tried to source a machine on the world market that would bone a flying fish, but none exists because there is such a technical requirement to be able to bone a flying fish,” he said.

Mr. Humphrey cautioned that Barbados should not allow persons to come and copy their skills, and noted that Government would be taking a bill to Parliament after approval by Cabinet to protect the intangible assets that exist in the fishing industry.

He added that there were many skills and talent in the fish market, and if they could be converted into something productive, then the country would have gone the full 360 to make money and put Barbados on the map again.

“That is what this trip is about.  That is why it is important to have this ship here. That is why it is so important to have partnerships and relationships. Many hands make light work….  We are working with all of our partners to make this happen. I am hopeful this is the beginning of a fruitful relationship,” the Minister said.

Mr. Humphrey also noted that work on the fish silage project being executed in conjunction with Argentina and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was doing well.

He explained that the intention for Barbados beyond the fish silage project was to create a circular economy, in an effort to reduce waste in the country.  

“In the case of fish offal, studies showed that a significant amount of the fish was wasted – the head, the tail, the bones.  In some cases…70 per cent of the fish… would find its way into the bin and then into the garbage,” he said.

The Minister told those present that training in how to create feed for animals from the waste was conducted by Argentina, while the FAO was assisting with the testing of various components.

 “At the end of it, we are hoping to have a product that we can put back out into the market and sell and empower young persons.  It would be a source of feed for the animals,” he said.

Ambassador Gustavo Martinez Pandiani described the fish silage project as a great example of cooperation. 

“We don’t have all the answers; we don’t have all the solutions, but we are willing to work with Barbados to find the best solution for this case in particular.  We know the problem exists; we know the opportunity exists, the only thing we have to do now is work together with our experts and your experts because cooperation is a two-way highway,” the Ambassador said, noting that the project was going well.

However, he stated that there was a need to address cultural differences.  “In this case, the fishing community was not accustomed to using the waste as a resource.  So, it is not only a technical issue; it is a cultural issue that we have to change together,” he said.

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