A dedication ceremony for the $30 million dollars complex, which is the fifth artisanal Fisheries Facility to be built in the twin-island state under the Government of Japan’s Grant Aid Scheme, was held this week.
The Government of Japan says it looks forward to the success of this project, and anticipates great benefits for the Government and the people of Antigua and Barbuda.
Acting Prime Minister, Harold Lovell said Antigua and Barbuda is committed to the growth of the fishing sector and will ensure that the proper support system is put in place to ensure the success of the facility.
He pointed out that the fisheries sector contributes over $25 million dollars to Antigua’s GDP, and is an important part of the nation’s development thrust.
Member of Parliament for Barbuda, Trevor Walker, said the construction of the complex marks an important turning point in the development of fisheries and the fish export sector on the island.
Furthermore, he said, because fresh fish will be distributed from Barbuda the over-reliance that fishermen have on lobster harvesting should shift toward harvesting a broader variety of fish.
As a result, the harvesting pressure on lobster will be reduced, contributing to the diversification of the fishing industry and sustainable use of marine fishery resources.
Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and the Environment Hilson Baptiste said the facility will allow the fishermen on Barbuda to employ more advance fishing technology.
The Barbuda facility will also be able to supply fresh fish to Antigua, alleviating the current shortage of fisheries products available for consumption, he added.
The Artisanal Fisheries Complex houses a landing jetty, mooring wharf, slipway, fish-handling shed, administrative offices, ice making and storage facility, cold storage, meeting room and sleeping quarters, among other features.