By Anicia Antoine, Ministry of Agriculture
(PRESS RELEASE) — The Departments of Fisheries and Telecommunications in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) through the Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean Project (CC4Fish Project), have procured a total of 200 Very High Frequency (VHF) radios for fisher folk around the island.
The VHF radios will enable fishermen to dialogue over substantial distances on marine radio channels, and is an invaluable fishing tool that alerts marine police during moments of distress. Two marine repeaters have also been purchased for the north and south of the island in an effort to reinitiate the use of VHF radios amongst fisher folk.
Acting Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Cooperatives, Hon. Herod Stanislaus said the procurement of the equipment is in keeping with the objective of the CC4Fish project to increase resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts in the eastern Caribbean fisheries sector.
“The installation of the marine repeaters and distribution of the VHF radios are contributing to the second overarching goal of the national adaptation plan for Saint Lucia which is to accelerate the implementation of climate adaptation and risk reduction actions critical to safeguarding the countries socioeconomic and environmental systems. Furthermore, the introduction of the VHF radios is consistent with the expected outcomes of the Saint Lucia Fisheries Sectoral Adaptation Strategy Action Plan by strengthening preparedness for climate variability and extremes in the fisheries sector.”
Parliamentary Representative for Anse-La-Raye and Canaries, Hon. Dominic Fedee expressed gratification on behalf of the fishermen of his constituency for the newly acquired equipment.
“For a long time, we’ve heard stories about fishermen being lost at sea. This is going to help address that problem, so I want to congratulate the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for a very well thought out initiative. It is quite important what they’re doing, and I support it wholeheartedly, representing a constituency that so heavily relies on fishing for their livelihoods.”
The license fee for the VHF radios has been waived by the Government of Saint Lucia.