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(PRESS RELEASE) – Management of the Lucian Blue Ocean Seafood Inc. is keeping their eyes set on the future with plans to totally revitalise the outlook of the local fisheries industry.
So says, the Director of the company, Karen Peter who spoke on the successfully hosted Independence Seafood Festival held last month.
In acknowledging the challenges faced by the sector, which has for decades been a great contributor to the overall agriculture economy, with its stable fisheries livelihoods around the island, Ms Peter insists that the fisheries, coastal and marine sub-sector is at a brink of massive growth. As she explains, the shortcomings of the past, and the limitations of the present has only fuelled her management team’s determination to become creative in carving out plans to showcase the diversely rich fisheries product we have in Saint Lucia; from the uniqueness of our fisherfolk, to fishing as a art and our marine coastal resources as an income generator. For her, it all starts with a decision to go beyond what we know and describe our fisheries sector to be.
“We need to start putting technology into agriculture. I know we have started, but we need to do it on a bigger scale. Government needs to get involved and finance it. I know they are doing their part as well, from some of the things I am hearing (and I think they just got 1.8 million dollars that the minister has spoken about) but the technology in agriculture is far from that they are doing their part). We need to start educating the younger ones that it’s not a blue collar, manual job where it is a dirty job, where you have to be ashamed of it. Because think of it, farming and agriculture are the billionaires of the world, that’s what they do and we have to learn from them. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel because the technology is out there. We just have to inject it into our economy, and push particularly the Blue Economy in terms of how we fish, the length of time we stay out. It’s not economical to stay a few hours and come back. Sometimes, the fishers come back with nothing. We need to get them to go out longer, so that they can come back with enough so we don’t have to import. What we need to do is export. And, that is our mandate as well.”
This juncture in time is seen as the perfect opportunity to uplift the fisheries sector. Ms Peter says, her ideas will support the Agriculture ministry’s plans to reframe the agro-tourism policies, and will also be an addition to Saint Lucia’s eco-tourism offerings.
“The first thing I saw was the experience of a bayfront and quite apart from having the fish business, we need to incorporate an entertainment aspect. I saw the tourists, cruise passengers, I saw shipside, I saw a lobster tank, a fish tank where you choose what you want to eat. I saw a restaurant and bar, an afterwork lime, a weekend lime and local creole features: I saw carnival, Independence and calypso activities; I saw it all! It’s not only a fish business. We have to do it differently and we have the government support which is critical.”
Lucian Blue Ocean Seafood Inc is the restructured Saint Lucia Fish Marketing Cooperation and it has a vision to strategically place the island’s fisheries sector on a stronger footing.