In an effort to rekindle interest in the fisheries sector, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Michael King, is calling on the youth to consider a career in the industry.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, at an Awards and Closing Ceremony for the Bridgetown fisherfolk at the Bridgetown Public Market last Saturday, Mr. King told those gathered that "faced with an increasingly aging population, we must explore new avenues for rejuvenating the sector."

He said given the reception from those schools that took part in the recently held Sustainable Fishing Exposition at the Consett Bay Market, St. John, the Permanent Secretary noted that the schools from that area which were involved in the exposition showed "great enthusiasm in the processing and preparation of fish dishes."

He went on to reveal that consideration was being given to the development of a project where formal training would be offered to the youth interested in becoming fish harvesters.

Pointing out that traditionally the agricultural sector had been associated with the growing of food, Mr. King noted that, within recent times, more emphasis was being placed on the contribution of the fishing subsector to the economy.

He added, "… with the contribution of some 22 million dollars to the Gross Domestic Product in 2008, which was an improvement of 36% on the figure for 2007, this was one of the only sectors that recorded a positive growth in the year 2009."

Assuring that Government would continue to provide duty-free concessions on tools and equipment to help fishermen ply their trade, he reminded them that the Ministry had already offered a number of incentives including a maintenance subsidy paid to boat owners.

He explained: "It offers a rebate of 50 per cent of the total cost incurred on boat repairs up to a maximum of $2000 every two years. In 2009, approximately $145,849 was disbursed to the applicants under this scheme," the Permanent Secretary disclosed.


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