(DNO) Thirty-one participants including three regional fisheries officers – one each from Antigua, Nevis and St. Kitts – has successfully completed the Basic Fisherman Training Course (BFTC) last week Friday.
Dominica is the only Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) country that has a mandatory entrant’s course for fishermen and prospective fishermen entering the sector.
This BFTC is being looked at as a model for the OECS region and one of the goals of this regional training is to have participating countries develop a programme like this one in their country using our model.
The closing ceremony was attended by Minister for Environment, Natural Resources, Physical Planning and Fisheries, Dr. Kenneth Darroux.
Japanese representatives were also in attendance as part of the handing over of a boat to the Fisheries Division and the launching of the Basic Fisherman Training Course Manual.
The goal of the BFTC is to develop a higher level of competency and skill in fishermen, to meet the emerging realities of the fishing industry.
“The fisheries sector is a vital source of food, employment and revenue generation. The over 1,500 fishers operate an artisan fishery in which they have many challenges in addressing the emerging realities of the industry. This course was designed to include all of the critical areas necessary for the survival of the fisherman and the sector. It must be understood that the fisherman is the captain, the mechanic and everything else on his boat. Hence, the reason for the basic training in those key areas which facilitate the success of his livelihood,” noted Chief Fisheries Officer Andrew Magloire.
He said with the many new entrants now “crossing the floor” from fig to fish, without any qualification or experience, the request for training has intensified. It had become necessary to put a mandatory programme in place covering the critical modules, he said.
“As mentioned earlier, the BFTC is as its name suggests, basic and is not meant to make an expert of participants. Though very holistic in nature, further training is recommended for persons requiring a higher level of skill or specialization. Attention is given to fishing as a natural renewable resource and not as an extracting industry. Fishing is taught as a business because of the major investments made, and participants are encouraged to accept the responsibility that comes with it,” he added