Efforts are being made to revive the National Fishermen Association that went into dormancy in 1996.
Interim President of the National Fishermen Association, James Nicholas told THE NEW TODAY Newspaper that at present they are reviewing copies of various constitutions as a means of harmonising one for the region.
Nicholas said it is hoped that this body will represent the entire fishing fraternity in Grenada.
He recalled that from the Caricom level standpoint, the understanding is that government’s role is to make sure that every fisherman becomes a member of the association in their respective member state.
According to Nicholas, stringent measures will be put in place if countries fail to adhere to the Caricom statement.
He said it has been proposed that concessionary items for fishermen should be held back to fishermen if they are not part of the local association.
“The proposal is that, for you to get a concession, you must have the authorisation from the organisation that you belong to,” he remarked.
The Interim President indicated that even the United Nations has been telling fishermen that they need to take charge of their resources and in order for that to happen all sub-groups have to be organised into a National Fishermen’s Association.
Nicholas who is also the President of the Southern Fishermen Association disclosed that only a handful of sub-groups are functioning in Grenada.
He spoke of St. John’s that is often referred to as the super power of the local fishing industry and once the leaders in the pack, has fallen apart and moves are on to get the group re-organised.
Although the association is in the formative stage, Nicholas believes that the local fishing industry is the envy of member countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
He said the local fishermen are good producers, but they need to produce some more quality products.
Nicholas also spoke of how the industry could be better regulated since there should be good governance of the fishing industry for sustainability.
“If you reap without any consideration… at the end of the day it’s going to collapse, and the Fishers will have nothing to do and they’re going to start blaming everybody, but themselves,” he said.
Nicholas disclosed that as a result of discussions held with government, members of the fishing industry were involved in the formation of a national policy that governs fishing which is now awaiting government’s approval.
“We have to be able to have this national association so that… when we speak the government listens,” he remarked.