By Anicia Antoine, Ministry of Agriculture
(PRESS RELEASE) — The Government of Saint Lucia through the Department of Agriculture continues efforts to support fisherfolk around the island amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The global outbreak of COVID-19 has created many challenges for individuals in the fishing sector including decreased demand, an unreliable market for fish, and reduced access to fishing.
In an effort to provide relief for fisherfolk currently being affected by the pandemic, eligible fisherfolk will receive a one-time grant of EC$500 from the Government of Saint Lucia.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony for the Relief Program, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Natural Resources, and Cooperatives, Barrymore Felicien, affirms that the ministry will continue to work to safeguard the livelihoods of fisherfolk across Saint Lucia.
“Today we are pleased as a Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Natural Resources, and Cooperatives to be part of the rollout and to deliver on our COVID-19 response plan in support to the fishers. Initially, the idea was to provide EC$900 worth of fuel to boat or vessel owners and since having conversations with the cooperatives we found it more equitable to provide that support to eligible fisheries boat owners and crew. We see that it would have impacted a larger number of persons and created a greater impact.”
Fisherfolk cooperatives island-wide have agreed to facilitate the payment of the grant to both members and non-members of the fisherfolk cooperative societies.
Vice President of Fisherfolk Cooperatives, Devon Stephens, expressed gratitude to the Government of Saint Lucia for ensuring the income support initiative comes to fruition.
“When it was decided that by giving each registered fisher $500, it would have made a greater impact, I want to thank the Permanent Secretary for that.”
To qualify for the income support program from the Government of Saint Lucia, fisherfolk must be registered with the Department of Fisheries and also be captured on the 2019- 2021 fishing license application as a boat owner, captain, or crew member associated with the vessel.