NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (November 21, 2022) — The following is an address delivered by Mr. Huey Sargeant, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) on behalf of Hon. Alexis Jeffers Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources on Nevis in observance of World Fisheries Day on November 21, 2022.
World Fisheries Day is observed every year on 21st November throughout the world by fishing communities. The World Fisheries Day helps in highlighting the critical importance to human lives, of water and the lives it sustains both in and out of water.
Fish forms an important part of the diets of people around the world, particularly those that live near rivers, coasts and other water bodies. A number of traditional societies and communities are rallied around the occupation of fishing. #supportonebyonefishers
In Nevis, for generations, fishing and fishermen have been a significant part of our community. Our outstanding fishermen enjoy prominence in their respective villages and Nevis as a whole. The Nevis Island Administration though the Department of Marine Resources via its outreach programmes stay in touch with our fishers to ensure that they can continue to ply their trade in safety, also to ensure sustainability.
We are aware of the demand for fresh seafood such [as] fish, lobster, conch and other exotic species but we must discourage overfishing as we must ensure future generations are able to enjoy our marine delicacies.
Fishing is [an] integral part of providing food and nutrition security for our nation. Near shore and ocean pelagic fish and fish products provide an average of only about 34 calories per serving. However, more than as an energy source, the dietary contribution of fish is significant in terms of high-quality, easily digested animal proteins and especially in fighting micronutrient deficiencies. A portion of 150g of fish provides about 50 to 60 percent of an adult’s daily protein requirement.
As we support small-scale and truly sustainable fisheries on this World Fisheries Day, we invite you to become part of a global movement to secure a world with fisheries that leave the ocean to thrive, in which fish is caught in balance with nature, and that is necessary to secure a future for coastal people, so no one is left behind.
Now, more than ever, we understand that our ocean’s health is in serious danger; from the gravity of climate change to the effects of overpopulation on the planet, we undeniably need to transform our food production systems and we need to do it fast. The global [Covid-19] pandemic has made us realise the importance of sourcing our food locally and supporting small-scale producers who are using natural resources sustainably and in balance with nature.
The Nevis Island Administration though the Department of Marine Resources continues to support fishers by providing tools and equipment, where possible, such as fish pot and wire following storms, GPS devices, training opportunities as well as monthly financial support for the operations of the Nevis Fisheries Complex in Charlestown. We pledge to continue supporting the sector as we are pursuing the establishment of a fuelling facility, as well as an area to launch and retrieve fishing vessels.
As we observe this week of activities, we recognise the theme as “Support One By One Fisher”. Our activities began on Sunday 20th November with a church service at the Shiloh Baptist Church. On Tuesday 22nd we invite the general public to the Fisheries Complex for a market day and career fair. On Wednesday we host a cocktail for our fishers. On Friday there will be a fish fry at the backyard of the Fisheries Complex, and conclude the week with a beach clean-up.
We believe these activities embodies the theme and goals of the World Fisheries Day observation. We salute our fishers and encourage them to be safe while they continue to feed our community and visitors alike. Happy World Fisheries Day and may God bless us all.