Just weeks after complaints of a shortage of fish on the island, fishermen of the Melville Street Fishing Corporation have deployed two Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) that are expected to yield their catches.
The FADs were made possible through the efforts of GRENCASE which acceded to the request of the Corporation during an evaluation of GRENCASE’s Boat Engine Repairs 2018 project which indicated that they were in need of those devices.
The FADs were made available through the help of the Australian government at a cost of $16,000.00.
Speaking at the launch ceremony held at the Melville Street Fish Market last Thursday, Managing Director of GRENCASE, Selby Henry said the objective of the project is to assist in the sustainability of the livelihoods of fishermen.
According to Henry, a series of meetings were held with fishermen to show them the correct ways to use the FADs to ensure that the devices work properly.
“We held a series of meetings and one of the things we recognise coming out of that meeting is the need to have some measure of capacity building of our fishermen and so a series of workshops were held to enlighten the fishermen on the construction process and mainly how to go about fishing around the FADs…”, he said.
Henry pointed out that responsible fishing is very important for the sustainability and the proper use of the fishing FADs.
“…The rationale behind this construction has to do with the increase in the fishing fleet – there are more persons plying the fishing industry and they are catching less fish. Also, there is a greater demand for these types of fish in particular as our nation becomes more health conscious and we recognise the importance of eating fish and eating our locally catched fish”, he said.
Henry also assured that the FADs will provide the correct environment for spawning purposes.
“It provides a spawning ground, a place where the fish can spawn, where they can lay their eggs and the eggs stand a better chance of developing as it provides that conducive atmosphere and condition for the spawning. It also offers a safe haven for small fish…away from predators…the FADs provide that area where they can hide and have a measure of safety”, he remarked.
Chief Fisheries Officer, Moran Mitchell who also delivered an address said he is confident that the installation of the FADs will help put more money into the pockets of local fishermen.
“I want to congratulate GRENCASE because this has been the desire of these fishermen on the southern side of the island, moreso Melville Street Fishermen for many, many, many years and for GRENCASE to accept the challenge, I am very, very proud of that. I believe that the fishermen livelihood in St. George’s will increase.”, he said.
“…It is not just to put an extra dollar in the pocket of the fishermen but the wholistic approach, relating (to) sustainability.
You must look at the fishing sector – will that benefit the fishing sector? Will their resources be depleted, will there be an increase in catch rate etc? I am very confident that with the deployment of these two FADS within the coordinates that there would be a new dynamic innovative thrust in terms of new technology for the fishermen in this part of the island,” he remarked.
Minister in the Ministry of Climate Resilience with responsibility for Forestry and Fisheries, Alvin Dabreo expressed his optimism of the FADs and pointed out that the time will soon come when Grenada will be able to take advantage of the “international waters in the Caribbean.”
“We have to look at the legislation that we have because the FADs are new and we are working on legislation with the UN for quite some time, so very soon that would be passed and gazetted so that we would be able to sustainably fish with those FADs.
“…To develop the industry we have to look further than we are right now. We know that even the Venezuelans, they take advantage of the international waters in the Caribbean which we do not, so we are also looking at how we can exploit deep in the Caribbean and the Atlantic because fishing is a lucrative business, and I think about now, we should start getting a larger piece of the pie because we know there are many countries way out (there) that fish in those waters and we do not benefit, so that’s another area that we are looking at.