by Curlan Campbell
- Fisheries Minister calls for a bridging of gender gap inequalities in fishing industry
- 3% female graduates of Fishing Vessel Captains’ Training programme
Minister for Fisheries Yolande Bain Horsford made a call for a bridging of gender gap inequalities that exist in the local fishing industry during the recent graduation of over 200 certified boat captains of which only 3% was female.
The fishing industry appears to be male-dominated, and global statistics show that women make up 15% of people engaged in the fisheries primary sector, indicating a level of inequality.
“I hasten to mention that the 301 [people] that received the training would indeed have added value to the fishing industry of the tri-island state of Grenada however I would have liked to see a greater number of women participation. From the total number of [people] trained only 3% were women; this may be regarded as a level of inequality – something that needs to be addressed,” Minister Bain Horsford said.
The Fishing Vessel Captains’ Training aims to improve boater safety. It was made possible through the Windward Island Research & Education Foundation (WINDREF) at St George’s University (SGU), in partnership the Ministry of Fisheries with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations through the Climate Change Adaptation of the fisheries sector in the Eastern Caribbean Project (CC4FISH). Over 300 fishers benefitted from the programme which was coordinated by Roland Baldeo.
Meanwhile, Bain Horsford agrees this training was quite timely as her ministry seeks to multiply the fisheries’ contribution to the country’s GDP over the medium term.
“A critical variable in increasing the fisheries share of the GDP in the medium term involves the empowering of fishers to engage in smart fishing as opposed to hard fishing through the use of technology such as FAD – fish aggregating devices – and GPS technology that fishers will no longer have to go to sea and search for fish and spend extended days out at sea.”
Successful participants received a certificate of completion, a Captains’ Class II Permit, a new VHF Marine Radio with GPS, a flash drive with all training information and a Captains’ Cap.
The following were the training modules taught during the programme:
- Rules of the Road
- Coastal Navigation
- Seamanship & Boat handling
- Safety at Sea
- Distress Procedures and Search & Rescue
- Use of GPS
- VHF Radio Operating procedures
- Using VHF Radio with GPS and FM Radio
- Fisheries Laws & Regulations
- Fisheries Conservation Measures
- First Aid
- Conflict Resolution
Deputy Director of WINDREF Dr Trevor Noel emphasised the need for fisherfolks to understand the importance of building the resilience of small-scale fisheries to ensure food security through value-added products.
“Keeping in mind what we do today will reverberate in the future, resilience and sustainability are extremely important. The importance of value-added products must be thought of: smoking, salting and canning of fish lend to its value. Each and every one of you is capable of entrepreneurial greatness, so do not think small. To this end, we ask that you think of a business model to ensure that you cover your overheads and adopt the concept of saving for future days and potential investment opportunities.”
It has been 12 years since fisherfolks received such training which is part of a project working towards creating a better understanding and awareness of climate change vulnerability, creating resilience of fisherfolk organisations and aquaculturists, and improving governance by mainstreaming climate change adaptation in multilevel fisheries governance.
CC4FISH Regional Project Coordinator, Dr Iris Monnereau via prerecorded message thanked the participants for taking advantage of this training and has urged them to educate other fishers.
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