New Fisheries Legislation Poised to Promote Sector Growth and Protection
February 28, 2023, Port of Spain – New fisheries legislation will strengthen domestic fisheries management, giving the state agencies more responsibilities and powers to protect the industry. This from the Minister of Planning and Development, the Honourable Penelope Beckles-Robinson who delivered the feature address at a Prize Giving Ceremony on Friday 24th February 2023 to recognise eleven (11) winners of the Beyond the Blue: From the Ocean to our Tables public education challenge, an initiative of the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) and Republic Bank through the Power to Make a Difference programme. Delivering the feature address, the Honourable Minister said, the domestic fisheries sector is not simply of significance because it supports the nutrition needs of the nation. The sector, she says, makes a notable contribution to the country’s foreign exchange earnings, an estimated 70 million TTD annually. As such, the new Fisheries Bill (No.2) 2020 which is currently before the Parliament “will put the infrastructure in place to enable the industry’s further growth and its protection. The legislation, she added will “create a legal basis for compliance by all stakeholders as it establishes a legal framework for the state to fulfil its obligations as a flag, port, coastal and market state in accordance with the existing international frameworks for fisheries management and related sectors”; and it also establishes “the legal basis for state to collect revenue through application fees for authorisations, licences and permits as well as implement significant penalties” as a deterrent to illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
Eight secondary school students and three adults on Friday emerged winners of the Beyond the Blue: From the Ocean to our Tables public education challenge hosted by the IMA and Republic Bank in observance of the United Nations 2022 International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA). Winners of the challenge received their awards at an official Prize Giving Ceremony held at the Park Street head offices of the Bank.
The aim of the year-long observance of IYAFA was to bring global attention to the importance of small-scale or artisanal fisheries to global food security, nutrition, achieving zero hunger, improving livelihoods and the sustainable use of natural marine resources. The world over, the contribution of small-scale fishers, fish farmers, fish workers and women in fishing was celebrated. Expanding of the significance of small-scale fishers to the global economy to the gathering, IMA’s Board of Governors Chair, Mr Hayden Alexander said “a 2019 FAO report puts the contribution of small-scale or artisanal fisheries at 40% of the world’s total catch, employing billions across the length and breadth of the industry’s value chain.” And here in Trinidad and Tobago, “small scale fishers account for as much as 80 per cent of total catch at an estimated 3 percent of our GDP” he added.
The Challenge consisted of word puzzle games for students nine to nineteen and a survey for adults based on the content produced for radio broadcasts and social media posts. Twenty (20) radio broadcasts and ten (10) video vignettes were created by the IMA and broadcast from mid-August 2022 to mid-January 2023. The initiative saw the participation of more than 20 students and scores of adults. Also speaking at the Prize Giving Ceremony, was the Bank’s Vice President, Mr Richard Sammy. He said, “Our partnership with the Institute of Marine Affairs to safeguard viable fisheries – resonates deeply with Republic Bank. Not only is it critical in pivoting the national mind-set towards the importance of a sustainable blue economy but it is also directly aligned with our national commitment, under the Principles for Responsible Banking, to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. This initiative particularly applies to Sustainable Development Goal #14 – Life Below Water to improve integrated marine management.”
For a chance to walk away with electronic devices, students had to complete correctly a word search or cross word puzzle based on content aired in the preceding month. In September 2022 Masters Tyrell Thomas of St Francis Boys College and Israel Eccles of Gasparillo Secondary School were the first and second place winners, respectively. Master Abdul Qadeer Mohammed of ASJA Boys College San Fernando and Miss Rayniece Amedee of Morvant Laventille Secondary School, coped first and second place for October 2022. Masters Amit Praboocharan and Rivan Gildharry of ASJA Boys College emerged first and second place winners for November 2022, and Master Brandon Ramkelawan of ASJA Boys College San Fernando and Miss Myah Felician of Providence Girls, Belmont came away with first and second place prizes for December 2022/January 2023.
In the category for participants twenty years and older, Ms. Christianne Zakour and Mr. Shabaka Mahluli, tied for first place and Mr. Marc Alfred Edwards coped the third place. The adults were awarded electronic devices.
The Planning and Development Minister congratulated the winners and saluted Republic Bank for its commitment to financing initiatives that support UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Acting IMA Director, Dr Rahanna Juman also showcased additional knowledge products of the Institute: two new videos on topics in the marine and coastal environment, Beach Profiling and Ocean Acidification; and an Anthology. The book, an anthology of articles written by the IMA for publication in the national dailies from 1992 to 2022 in observance of the Institute 45th Anniversary in 2023 will be available to the national community in June 2023, while the videos are for placement on the Ministry of Education’s online platform.
The Institute of Marine Affairs has been a part of the Republic Bank’s Power to Make A Difference Programme since 2020. Members of the public may access the Beyond the Blue content and other knowledge products at https://www.ima.gov.tt/