Monday 20 May, 2019

SLFMC closure may benefit consumers, strike blow to fish vendors

Fisheries in Vieux-Fort are assessing the impact of the closure of the Saint Lucia Fish Marketing Corporation on their businesses. Based on their assessment, if the situation does not improve after the closure of the facility on Thursday, they expect their customers to benefit, while they experience losses.

According to Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, the closure of the corporation will result in the formation of a new entity which will less rely on public funds.

The fisheries, who are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst, say the situation will result in a glut on the market, which will see the prices of fish plummeting, while their operation cost will continue to soar.

They also feel that the situation will affect those fish vendors who feel that they have a secure market with hotels and restaurants. According to them, those businesses will now have the opportunity to purchase fish more cheaply from a different source in a competitive and hostile market.

The fisheries feel if a private entity takes over the corporation it will not redound to their benefits, due to what they say is the objective of private entities to strive for profits at any cost.

Danny James, a fisher who owns a fishing vessel, said another problem which they will face is a shortage of ice.

“We use ice all day long…Ice is very important to us,” James told Loop News, adding that the quantity of ice which they use per day is not available in Vieux-Fort at this moment.

According to James, who is also the president of the Goodwill Fishermen Co-operative Society of Vieux-Fort, it may lead to an increase in the price of ice.

“When fishermen come from sea in the evening where will they get ice?” she asked.

Another fish vendor said when the corporation is closed fish vendors will dictate the price of fish on the market.

“All how I look at the situation, the fish vendors will be the ones affected the most by the closure of the corporation,” the fish vendor lamented.

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