Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): As the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis prepares for an economic rebound post-COVID-19, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris has applauded the record-breaking increases across the fisheries sector. Prime Minister Harris gave a brief overview of the gains made by the fisheries sector over the past year despite the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister’s comments were made during his Monthly Press Conference on June 3, 2021.
“Coastal pelagic fishery increased by 70 percent, ocean pelagic fishery decreased by 7 percent, conch fishery increased by 26 percent. Lobsters increased in 2021 by 334 percent over the same period from January to April in 2020. The number of registered fishers stood at an all-time high of 1,277 at end of April 2021 up 102 fishers over April 2020. These are positive signs of a fisheries sector on the rise aided by my Government’s stimulus packages which assisted fishers with fishing gears including fish pot wires, fish aggregate devices, and many other supports,” said Prime Minister Harris.
The COVID-19 relief programme has shown to have made a considerable impact on the agriculture and fisheries sectors. In 2020, over 203 fishermen were assisted by the federal government with approximately three (3) million dollars spent on fish trap wire, fishing line, hooks, rope, and safety equipment.
The stark realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the need for greater food security in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, with agriculture prime for economic growth. Prime Minister Harris further urged the continued support for farmer and consumer relations, acknowledging that the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic require consideration of all stakeholders involved.
“During the period under review, overall crop production fell by approximately 10 percent. I remind us all to support our farmers and fishers by buying locally. I remind our farmers to do the best they can on prices and quality. Long live our farmers and fishers,” said Prime Minister Harris.
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has successfully opened up all major sectors of the economy, thanks mainly to the outstanding management of the domestic COVID-19 situation. As of June 3, 2021, 28,980 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered to 63 percent of the adult population of the Federation.