The state of the region’s fishing industry is the topic of discussion at a two-day meeting of Fisheries Ministers of the OECS and Suriname which opened Tuesday in St Lucia.
The meeting got underway with the noticeable absence of the Ministers from Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda; the two OECS countries recently devastated by hurricanes.
The delegates will discuss the challenges facing fisheries in the region amid the threats posed by climate change and warming sea temperatures.
They are also due to discuss a fisheries rehabilitation program for hurricane prone countries in the OECS.
St Lucia’s Agriculture Minister, Ezechiel Joseph delivered the welcome remarks at Tuesday’s opening ceremony.
He said the fisheries sector is important to the sub-region’s social and economic development and he questioned whether the sub-region was really benefitting from the fishing industry.
“The reality is that we are seeing more returns from our land-based farmers than from our fisher folks. And we all know some of the challenges that our fisher folk are faced with,” Joseph said.
Among the challenges identified by the Agriculture Minister are the high cost of production, the traditional methods still being employed in the industry and the limited marine protected areas.