Back to Annual Seafood Festival

Thursday 14th October 2010

As the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment, continue to promote sustainable Livelihood, fisher-folks, vendors and residents, turned –out in their numbers, Sunday ( Nov. 7th ) at the Urlings Wharf to celebrate in the abundance and variety of seafood offered, at the Seafood Fiesta.

Fisher-folks who ply their trade at the 32 landing sites, in Antigua & Barbuda attended the event which continues to grow in leaps and bound in popularity. Over 18 vendors, inclusive of fisher-folks showcased delicacies, and traditional seafood against the backdrop of great entertainment and family oriented activities. Approximately 9 – (nine) calypsonians and 7 soca artistes were among the line –up. The headliners were Calypso Joe and De –Anchor, respectively.

The Urlings Iron Band added flavor to the from crabs, conchs to grills fired up fish and lobsters, there was dish to suit every seafood taste.
Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment Hon. Hilson Baptiste, explained the Seafood Fiesta, in the context of the sustainable livelihood.
 Minister Baptiste, who also has portfolio for fisheries, said the principles of the sustainable livelihoods into fisheries development requires practice.

In the 2009 budget, the government outlined as one of its thrust sustainable livelihood, to mitigate poverty. So far, the ministry has staged its third seafood Fiesta at the Urlings Wharf.
According to the fisheries minister, the seafood fiesta has helped to align fisheries with wider poverty reduction initiatives and to identify means of contributing to poverty reduction that do not directly increase pressure on fully or over-exploited fish resources.

It was on that note the minister added, in this regard, aspects of fisheries management and responsible fisheries are critical.

 “The approaches rest on core principles that prioritize people-centered.” He   explained that “sustainable livelihoods are a way of thinking about the objectives, scope and priorities for development in order to enhance progress in poverty elimination. It is a holistic approach that tries to capture, and provide, a means of understanding the vital causes and dimensions of
Poverty without collapsing the focus onto just a few factors economic issues, food security.”

Minister Baptiste highlighted that there are major stumbling block to achieving responsible and sustainable fisheries in the twin –islands.

The Minister paints a picture of the current situation, of fisher-folks complaining of being unable to access the market, “the current situation puts the small-scale sector at an unfair disadvantage, marginalizing it in the decision taking process, and encouraging the dangerously simplistic notion that the problem boils down to a problem of boats…too many boats chasing too few fish”.

He added that “Such a view, by targeting the number of boats, prejudices the development possibilities for small scale fisheries; promoting the scrapping of many small scale vessels, whilst leaving the avenue open for foreign vessels, to fish in territorial waters illegally, though fewer, larger, more powerful, those vessels are less sustainable vessels in their place”.
He vowed to bring that situated under-control.

Hon. Baptiste also used the opportunity to thank the organizers for their efforts.

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