Where are the young fishermen?
Founder of the 39-year old Oistins Fish Festival, Stella Lady St John, is concerned that Barbados’ fishing industry is at risk of dying out as fewer young people are entering the profession.
Delivering the Founder’s Day message at yesterday’s opening, the widow of the late prime minister, Sir Harold St John, said something has to be done about the absence of young men in the fishing industry.
“Are there any young people going out to sea to do fishing? I think not.
“I think nobody has been teaching fishing…I hear there are about 800 boats going out fishing every week, or every other week, and I’ve been asking the fishermen who own these boats if they will be willing to take out some young men, one at a time”.
Lady St John pointed out that young people are critical to the continuity of the fishing industry, and the answer lays in teaching them the trade.
“I don’t mean that you should go on the block and drag them all out, and say you must go and learn to be a fisherman, but some how or the other we must interest them in the sea.”
“Most young people in Barbados have never been out on a boat, not even a little craft, ” she said.
Also of great concern to Lady St John, credited with developing the fishing village to a major attraction, is the unkempt site of an old gas station in the Oistins Fish Gardens zone.
“Something’s got to be done with that. It’s an eyesore. It’s on good land, good space that could be used for something else.
“You’ve got to do everything possible to make it as appealing as possible… these things we need to do to make the environment beautiful”, Lady St John said.