(FOLLOWING IS THE FULL TEXT OF THE MESSAGE BY AGRICULTURE AND
FISHERIES MINISTER EZECHIEL JOSEPH FOR FISHERMEN’S FEAST ON FRIDAY JUNE 29, 2018)
We observe every year around this time Fishermen’s Feast. I think it is fitting on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives and by extension the government of St. Lucia to extend “Bon Fete” to all the stakeholders in this sub sector.
The theme for this year’s observance is “Fishers Adapting to Climate Change through Co-operatives”.
It is very fitting we have all witnessed the negative impact of climate change on the economic activities in this sub sector. Therefore, as a Ministry we are firm on our conviction that stronger Co-operatives can only augur well to help overcome the negative impacts of climate change. In this regard, the Department is committed to giving support to the many established co-operatives to encourage the proper functioning of these organisations.
It is also important to note the use of appropriate technology on Fishing is critical. The aspect of the small-scale fisheries adopting new fishing technologies has to be looked in the context of survival strategies of the fishermen. Special attention should also be given to understanding and fulfilling the basic needs of our fisher folk and implementing programmes to increase not only the incomes of fishermen, but also the quality of lives of their families and environment.
I am aware of the many programmes being implemented by the departments of Fisheries and Co-operatives to strengthen the ability of our stakeholders to overcome the many challenges that they are faced with.
In addition, the government understands that to build a thriving, vibrant and sustainable business for fishers, it’s essential that we put in place a strong and reliable marketing infrastructure which is crucial for the continued development of this sector.
For this I want to assure you, that we are well on our way to restructuring the St. Lucia Fish Marketing Corporation (SLFMC) and we are also discussing and exploring options that will provide insurance to our fisher folk to provide the necessary safety net to cushion the impact of climate change.
Rest assured that you will be engaged before the process is finalized to provide the right solution to your needs as beneficiaries.
On behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives, I would like to encourage you to participate in the many activities organised this year and looking forward to your continued positive impact on our economy.
In closing, I would like to wish you an enjoyable and safe Fishermen’s Feast and God’s guidance and blessing during this hurricane season.
I thank you