Frustrated fisherfolk

by Emmanuel Joseph

Fisherfolk relaxing at Conset Bay, St.John today.

Fisherfolk at Consett Bay in St. John say they are dissatisfied with the arrangements which the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture had put in place to get their boats back into the water following the passage of Tropical Storm Chantal on Tuesday.

A visit to that east coast location this afternoon by a Barbados TODAY team revealed that only about four of the estimated 15 fishing vessels which had been hauled up before the storm, were able to restart fishing expeditions today.

Owner of fishing vessel Star 2, Andrew Harewood, told this newspaper he and his colleagues were caught unprepared when the tractor which assisted in the pre-storm hauling up, returned today to get the boats back into the sea.

A fishing vessel being launched at Conset Bay today after passing of tropical storm Chantal.

“We are not satisfied with the arrangements. We were waiting for the tractor to come back on Monday, as we were led to believe it would. So it turned up this morning and the boat owners were not expecting it. I was in Bridgetown and had to hustle back here,” complained Harewood.

“The reason why more boats were not launched today, is because the men were not prepared. They were waiting since Monday and did not see the tractor,” echoed the near half dozen fisherfolk gathered underneath the shade of a tree next to the beach, explaining their issues related to both hauling up and returning the boats to the sea.

They claimed there were no proper communications between the Fisheries Division and the Soil Conservation Unit, both of which fall under the Ministry of Agriculture, from where the division borrows the tractor..

In fact, fish vendor Donna Moore, the sister of Harewood, claimed that division personnel did not even “tell the Soil they wanted the tractor to come on Monday”.

While the Barbados TODAY team was talking to the fisherfolk at Consett Bay, a truck arrived with material to build a trailer, we were informed.

“Look, take a picture of that truck. They are going to build their own trailer because the fisherfolk here can’t depend on the Fisheries [Division],” the fisherfolk said in a chorus.

The Consett Bay seafarers have other complaints as well.

“Fisheries does order the wrong equipment,” suggested John Harewood, owner of vessel Triple Star and a businessman of more than 50 years in the industry.

“When the Fisheries Division buys equipment, they don’t consult with fishermen for their opinion,” charged Harewood.

When contacted, Deputy Chief Fisheries Officer, Joyce Leslie, said she could not comment until her field officers reported to her.

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