Calliaqua venue a turn off for many fishers  – Coop head
The Calliaqua jetty on Fisherman’s Day (photo by Robertson S Henry)
June 2, 2023
Calliaqua venue a turn off for many fishers – Coop head

President of the Fisherman’s Cooperative, Winsbert Harry, has again raised the years-old issue of the venue as a major obstacle in not having the expected numbers of fishers participating in the annual Fisherman’s Day activities.

And, he has argued that the continued failure by the authorities to have a change in the venue leaves fishers with negative conclusions.

“I think the venue for the fisher folk is not really the best venue for the activities … there is a collision here,” Harry said on Monday, at the Fisherman’s Day activities at Calliaqua.

He pointed to the manner in which the boats are tied up alongside each other to the single jetty which causes damage to the vessels; the lack of space to adequately manage the activities; and the inadequacy of the four stalls at the Calliaqua Fisheries Complex for fishers to sell their catch.

“When the fisher folk come to a committee meeting and they lend their voice and say the majority of the fisher folk would like to see the activities in Kingstown, and when you have that majority vote, and that same majority lose, is what causes many of the fisher folk to turn away,” Harry claimed.

He has pointed to the need for a change of mindset.

Harry spoke of the importance of the event but insisted that the venue is a turn off for many fishers who choose not to participate.

“…I really had to take the bull horns and encourage the fisher folk to participate because they did not want to participate, but I really had to reach out to them, speak to other champions in the different fishing communities. We need champions … people whom fisher folk listen to.”

Harry added though that he was still pleased with the turnout of fishers and citizens despite the activities not being held in Kingstown.

The annual Fisherman’s Day activities are managed by the Fisheries Department through a Fisherman’s Day Committee, but Harry said they would like this to change.

“What we would like to see for next year that the Fisheries Division and the Fisherman’s Day Committee hand over the management of the Fisherman’s Day activities to the National Fishermen’s Organization, so we can manage these activities and liaise with them.

“They have been doing it for the past 46 years, and I think this is a time now for the national organization to take the lead in having fisherman’s day…”.

Harry feels the activity can occasionally be rotated to other fishing communities, noting that the event is a national activity, “and we do not have fisher folk from the southern Grenadines and the northern Grenadines really taking part.”

The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Saboto Caesar told SEARCHLIGHT that he is aware of the concerns being raised and these will be addressed.