In keeping with its mission to provide technical support and aid for economic and social growth in developing countries, the Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is looking to increase its foreign aid to the Caribbean region.
Japanese government officials recently met with Caribbean Fisheries Ministers in St. Lucia to discuss the fisheries industry in the region and to evaluate the status of grant aid for the development of the industry and other marine resources.
Dominica’s Fisheries Minister, Dr. Kenneth Darroux represented the island at that conference.
According to Darroux, the Japanese government has contributed immensely to Dominica’s economy through infrastructure, technical support and training in the fisheries industry.
“We’ve seen the construction of three massive fisheries complexes throughout the island,” he said. “Japan’s contribution is seen not just in infrastructure but also the ongoing technical support through JICA, where we’ve seen education of our fishermen.”
The minister highlighted Japan’s dedication to the project despite its own financial responsibilities.
Darroux revealed that a plan for the establishment of a multi-purpose fisheries complex in the south of the island is currently underway.
“This would be more or less the final complex that we have as part of our long term plan for the fisheries sector,” he noted. “This project’s concept paper was handed over to the Japanese government embassy in Trinidad about a year ago, and it seems to be picking up some speed. I am very confident and optimistic that pretty soon we will get an official word that this project has been approved.”
He said the project will be of tremendous benefit to the Fond St. Jean community.
“This is good news for the fisher folk and the wider community,” he stated. “My vision of this project is not [simply] a fisheries project but a marine resources [complex]. We can have an area for the fishermen to store their boats and an administrative building, but also other marine related activities such as diving and the sale of value added products such as smoked fish.”
The minister said the proposal is at an advanced stage of review in Tokyo.