Grenada has seen a reduction in the number of fish exports during the past year.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Alvin Da Breo informed a sitting of the House of Representatives last week Friday that the reduction in fish exports last year amounted to $24M, and so far for 2015 it is $21M.
Minister Da Breo said the reduction in fish exports is largely due to
the drop in the Grade A quality of fish due to the processing stage.
He explained that by the time fishermen get back to the areas where they have set their lines, the quality of the fish has started to deteriorate.
“That has caused a reduction in the exports and the dollar value that
we could get, because the higher (is) the grade, is the more money that you (could) get,” he said.
Minister Da Breo spoke of the importance of Grenada maintaining a high standard in its quality of fish.
He told Parliament since 2005 Grenada has been granted the status of exporting fish to the European Union, which has enabled the country to export its fish and fishery products to other international markets.
“Grenada has developed a brand… for export of quality fish and it’s currently enjoying a niche market in the USA and Canada for its fresh yellow fin tuna,” he said.
Minister Da Breo said the Fisheries Division is currently engaged in the execution of the Caribbean Fisheries Home Management Programme geared at enhancing the operations of the fisherfolk.
It is a five-year project which commenced in 2013 with funding coming from the Government of Japan at a cost of EC $6.8M.
Minister Da Breo said the advent of the sargassum seaweed is another factor affecting the fishing industry.
He said the seaweed, which has covered a number of beaches, especially in the St. Andrew’s area, has caused some of the species of fish to relocate out of the reach of the local fishermen.
However, Da Breo spoke of some benefits being derived from the seaweed.
According to him, it is providing a feeding ground for important species of fish including juvenile sword fish, the dolphin, and various species of tuna.
He said the seaweed also serves as a nursery for a number of endangered species such as the hawksbill turtle.