THA: Barbados Bay Fish Facility will boost food security

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Secretary of Food Security Nathisha Charles-Pantin – Photo courtesy THA

The Barbados Bay Fish Facility will help improve Tobago’s food security, said THA Assistant Secretary of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment and Sustainable Development Nigel Taitt, at the recommissioning of the facility in Studley Park on January 30.

At a joint select committee meeting on January 24, THA agro-investment specialist Karen Shaw revealed that there is 20 per cent food security on the island.

Taitt said, on assuming office, he was tasked with making site visits to all the fishing facilities throughout the island, adding that Barbados Bay was one that he saw could be renovated.

“Fisherfolk who usually ply their trade along this area can be accommodated in this building, especially considering the safety of consumers, to adhere to the public health standards,” he said.

He urged stakeholders to “manage and upkeep this building and most of all to maintain a clean, peaceful, sociable, patriotic environment for the betterment of this district and for Tobago on the whole.”

Secretary of the division, Nathisha Charles-Pantin, was also present and emphasised the need for unity among the fishing community, also stressing on the maintenance of the fishing facilities. She noted that the division has inherited a number of facilities that require upgrading, and Barbados Bay Fishing Facility was no exception. She said the facility has underwent comprehensive upgrades and repairs to enhance its functionality and provide fishermen, processors and vendors with a clean and comfortable environment for fish handling and vending.

“We can only do it together,” she said. “The Department of Fisheries could not achieve this without interacting with the project implementation unit. They couldn’t do it without interacting with the stakeholders. They couldn’t do it without interacting with the contractors – so we can’t do things without each other.

“Once we understand that with working and interacting with each other, we are drawing on the different strengths and understanding our weaknesses and working on them; then I can see us meaningfully developing our landscape and boasting that we all did it together.”

She added: “We will continue to work tirelessly as we have been doing as a unit, as a division to ensure that we meet all the standards that exist, so that we can be in compliance.”

Director of Fisheries Garth Ottley said the commissioning marks a journey towards enhancing and advancing the fishing industry and promoting sustainable practices in food production.

“This facility stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to innovation, environmental stewardship and the highest standards of quality. Through meticulous planning, dedication and the collaborative efforts to our team, we have brought this vision back to life,” Ottley said.

President of the All-Tobago Fisherfolk Association (ATFA) Curtis Douglas said the facility is a milestone which should be remembered and embraced as a development where the fisherfolk and the Tobago came together as one.

Barbados Bay Fish Facility at Studley Park. – Photo courtesy THA