by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- FADS catch over 12,000 pounds between January to August
- Glut of tuna contributing to low prices
- Carriacou Fisherfolk Organisation Inc tapping into Australian Government grants programme
Since the deployment of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) on the sister isles, fisherfolk are registering a large number of catches, with over 12,000 pounds of fish including mahi mahi and yellow fin tuna caught between January to August. The fisheries department in Carriacou indicated that statistics for previous years are not available since proper records had not been kept.
Head of Carriacou Fisherfolk Organisation Inc, Brian Whyte said this would normally spell good news for fisherfolk. “Now it’s the peak tuna season, and therefore we are really having too much fish on the market because we are really not in the middle of the tourist season, and the demand is not that great. We have a lot in storage now.”
He said due to a number of challenges including not having a steady market to sell their catch; the organisation must now rethink its current business model since many fishermen are forced to sell their catch at a loss, as the glut of tuna is contributing to plummeting prices. To look for new ways to market and sell their fish, they will be among other organisations seeking to tap into a small grants programme funded by the Australian Government.
Whyte said they are applying for grant funding of US$20,000 to undertake a marketing and data analysis project, which will include the hiring of a consultant to advise on proper ways of packaging and marketing fish products. “We will be taking full advantage by applying for funding to conduct a marketing project. We expect to hire a consultant and training ladies on how to properly package fish products made in L’Esterre Carriacou, and I believe this will help us think more proactively and innovatively. Another aspect to our project is to teach fishermen how to collect data, and it will be good for the fishermen because they can now look at a month or even a year and see how much fish was caught and the type of species, which augurs well when fisherfolk are applying for financial assistance.”
Whyte admits that some mistakes made in the past resulted in the loss of 4 deployed FADs. He says now that the organisation uses best practices on how to properly deploy and maintain the fish aggregating devices, they are now more confident to seek further funding to expand their operations. “Initially with the UNDP we lost about 4 FADs. Each FAD cost $20,000 but now that we have learned how to build, deploy and maintain them we have FADs out there since February and they are yielding results. Therefore now we must think about expanding our operations.”
Under Australia’s Direct Aid programme (DAP), organisations can access between AUD $5,000 to $30,000 per approved projects with an upper limit of AUD $60,000 for projects that span 2 financial years and have a strong project design with risk management strategies. The funding is available to civil society groups, NGOs, local government organisations and other entities engaged in development activities. Projects in several countries including Grenada are eligible for funding.