Thirty-five young fishers across the island are to benefit from a ‘Training in Safety at Sea’ initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, through the Caribbean Maritime University.
State Minister, Hon. Franklin Witter, said this activity forms part of the Ministry’s drive to improve occupational health and safety in the fisheries sector.
“Beneficiaries will be trained in navigation, small-boat handling, and will receive life jacket, GPS compass and certification at the end of the training,” Mr. Witter said.
He was speaking at an International Fisherman’s Day conference at the Wembley Centre of Excellence in Hayes, Clarendon, on Wednesday (June 29), where special focus was placed on young fishers aged 18 to 30 years old.
The State Minister further noted that an additional 12 young fishers will benefit from training in safe scuba-diving practices through the University of the West Indies.
“[They] will be trained at PADI open waters and will receive dive watch and certification at the end of the training,” he said.
He added that workers in the sector will be assisted in the transition from informality to formality through a ‘training of the trainers’ programme for small businesses, occupational safety and health officials and fish farmers. This will be done in collaboration with the HEART/NSTA Trust and the International Labour Organization.
In the meantime, Mr. Witter has congratulated the gallant efforts of the nation’s fishers, who amid the COVID-19 pandemic, “have proven their resilience by risking their lives to continue to provide food for the nation and for their families”.
International Fisherman’s Day 2022 is observed under the theme, ‘Small in size, big in value’ and coincides with the United Nations’ recognition of 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA).