I’ve been in the fishing Industry for the past thirty years. Fresh out of school and unemployed, I was introduced to the industry by a family member. I began my experience as a novice fish cleaner and later learnt the art of boning flying fish. I started my apprenticeship with the company Atlantic Fish Mongers, owned by the late Mr. William Ince, who never gave up on his new staff even when we did not bone the best quality fish. I later went on to work with Mr. Jonathan Morgan the former owner of Fish of Barbados, who presently owns Morgan’s Fish House. A few years later, I partnered with Mrs. Jemma Harewood to set up our own small fish business called VJ’s Quality Fish. Always wanting to develop and achieve more, I embarked on a new small business enterprise called VERJEDA Fish Processors.
As president of a primary fisherfolk organization, I recognized there was a need for a more structured and organized fishing industry. This has led me to educate myself and participate in activities relevant to the development of the industry. Equipped with the necessary knowledge and information about the fishing industry of Barbados, I decided to run for, and was successful in being elected to the office of President of the Union. In this capacity I believe that I can effectively mobilize fisherfolk and those involved in the industry to realize their full potential. I have been the President of BARNUFO for the last two years. In the interest of raising the profile of BARNUFO, I am presently completing a Certificate Course in NGO Management at the Open Campus UWI.
As President of BARNUFO, I have a responsibility to promote sustainable fisheries, proper governance, fisherfolk development and sanitary and phytosanitary standards. BARNUFO will therefore continue networking and partnering with other government and non-governmental agencies in the development and delivery of training to all fishery workers.
We will support all government initiatives aimed at promoting economic activity in the fisheries sector, looking at, and supporting infrastructure development at the landing sites and around the Island. BARNUFO will continue to agitate and advocate for support from Government in our quest to explore business opportunities in regional and extra-regional markets.
Our vision is to see a training facility established where all persons in the fisheries sector and persons wishing to enter can be trained in all aspects of the industry. An enhancement of the present curriculum of the primary school syllabus to include fishing related subjects. We would like see more entrepreneurial opportunities opened to persons wishing to enter the industry, where fishing is perceived as a career of choice and not as a last resort. We envisage a viable fishing cooperative with fisherfolk acting as managers where fisherfolk can market their products and compete in national, regional and international markets. Finally, we foresee a future where stigma and discrimination is removed from the fishing Industry.
In conclusion, fishing is a business very much like any other economic or entrepreneurial activity; and we must approach it with the seriousness and dedication which it so deserves.
We must come to grips with the changing scenes in life and the fishing industry, but most importantly... we must realize our full potential.