Coronavirus impact: Fishers say sales are down, unsure of way forward
Fishing vessels at the Vieux-Fort Fishing Port
Operations Manager of the Goodwill Fishermen Cooperative in Vieux-Fort, Kaygianna Charlery says the time is right for the various fishers’ cooperatives around the island to meet to discuss the impact the coronavirus has on the fishing industry in Saint Lucia.
Several fishers in the south of the island have indicated to Loop News that they are already feeling the effects of the coronavirus deep down in their pockets. They say some of the business houses which usually buy fish from them are now buying less while others have stopped buying.
In an interview with Loop News, Charlery said that she has received information from fishers in Vieux-Fort about the impact the coronavirus has on their livelihood.
“Speaking with a few fishers in Vieux-Fort a few days ago, one of them told me he may have to leave his fishing vessel onshore because of the impact of the coronavirus,” she said.
Charlery said such impact needs to be addressed by all fisheries cooperatives around the island collectively. She added that it is a major concern for the Goodwill Cooperative, which comprises of over 100 members.
She lamented that in her capacity as the Operations Manager of the Goodwill Cooperative, her function is to advise the board, but she is unable to do so at this time as it relates on how to deal with the impact of the coronavirus.
According to Charlery, she was hoping to hear the prime minister explain what measures are in place to assist the fishing industry in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic during his address to the nation earlier this week, but he did not do so.
“This leaves us in the open…However, as long as the cooperative can remain open to serve its members, it will do so,” she said.
Charlery said the pandemic has provided the fishing industry with a set of new concerns for which it has no answers at this time.