Minister visits ports to gauge fishermen’s concerns amid COVID-19 | 28 March 2020
As the government and its stakeholders are finding ways to keep the national food supply chain alive and to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts across the food system of the country, the Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture, Charles Bastienne, and officials from his ministry visited the fishing ports at Victoria and Providence on Thursday.
Several artisanal and semi industrial fishermen who were at the two ports talked about how they were being affected by this global pandemic and shared their views on how best the government could assist them so that they could continue with their fishing activities to provide fish to our population.
The semi industrial fishermen cannot go out at sea because there is no sale of their catch as most hotels are closed and they cannot export their catch either. As for the artisanal fishermen, the processors are not buying all of their catch and they too cannot sell all of their fish.
The minister explained that soon the government will be announcing some of the measures to prevent food crisis in the country and their views will be taken into consideration.
Normally during the North West Monsoon almost all boats would be out at sea, but this year this is not the case. Many boats were moored at the two ports awaiting desperately for an announcement from the authority.
Minister Bastienne and his team also visited some outlets where processors are selling their products, such as Oceana and Sea Harvest, based in the STC hypermarket.
The ministerial delegation also visited the STC hypermarket which is currently selling a wide range of local products such as processed fish from some processors and also local vegetables, fruits and spices from our local farmers.
To note that since earlier this year, after the coronavirus started affecting millions of lives globally, Minister Bastienne and his officials have been meeting with many people directly involved in the food chain sector, from farmers associations to fish processors and fishermen to see how best all can work together to ensure food and nutrition security for our nation.