CHARLESTOWN: The Ministry and Department of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration has embarked on a new pilot project with the introduction of aquaculture for the benefit of the island’s farmers and fishers.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Kelvin Daly, said aquaculture is a very dynamic discipline that could take the form of onshore or offshore fish farming.
“Aquaculture can take the form of onshore fish farming where you excavate the ponds or have natural ponds or you can have it offshore in deep ocean water, depending on the species you are trying to farm,” said Daly, adding that the project was planned one year ago for several reasons.
“The whole program from its conception about one year ago was to satisfy three objectives. The first one was to introduce this technology to our residents on Nevis as a way of introducing new ways of making money.
“The second thing is to release some pressure off the near shore fisheries we have in our waters. It’s under tremendous pressure, we have more and more guys going fishing because the economy is (struggling). The last thing is that we are trying to offset the importation of fish (tilapia)…We are seeing a dramatic rise in the importation of fish for various reasons,” said Dr. Daly.
However, he said the pilot project was not meant to replace fishers but convince them to utilize the new technology and realize it would be cheaper to fish on land.
Daly used the opportunity to urge Nevisians to see the bigger picture as it related to the food security of Nevis and the enhancement of livelihoods.
“Being a new area, it creates, of course, new employment, new employment opportunities, and new investment opportunities,” said Daly. “It is a sustainable living for us and one of the bigger issues is trying to be as self-sufficient as possible.”
Daly said it was important to show the people of Nevis that they could be successful at aquaculture and the project would tie into the proposed Fisheries Complex in Charlestown.
“We have the track record of introducing new technologies and this project not only puts food on our table, it puts money in your pocket,” he said. “This will dovetail into the processing activities at the Fisheries Complex and try to create a product that we can even export if necessary because clean, safe organic is what people are looking for.”