Fisheries future bleak heading into 2018

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A new report paints a bleak picture for the fisheries sector which suffered more than EC $850,000 in material damage from Hurricane Irma.
OBSERVER media secured a copy of the preliminary study compiled by the Fisheries Division. The publishers were keen on pointing out that the report was based on damage and was not an aggregate of losses from the damage.
According to the report, 37 fishing vessels were damaged in Barbuda as a result of the hurricane passing directly over the island on September 5.
“Only 17 vessels managed to escape the storm without damage. The 37 vessels that were damaged accounted for 68.5 percent of the 54 active fishing vessels in Barbuda. Total estimate of the damage done to the fleet was valued at EC $254,300,” the report read. 
With respect to insurance coverage, only 5.9 percent of the vessel owners reported that they had vessel insurance; 11.8 percent used a percentage of their savings to ensure funds were available to cover unforeseen events such as damage caused by a hurricane, the report found.
According to the report, high premiums; inadequate coverage, such as the maritime limits of the policy; not covering the extent of fishing operations; and the type of coverage were cited as the main reasons for fisher folks opting for the savings route.
The report found that no vessel was reported damaged in Antigua following that storm, but one fishing vessel, valued at EC $20,000, in Willoughby Bay, was destroyed by strong swells associated with the passage of Hurricane Maria on September 18 – 19.
Meanwhile, some 2,177 fish traps were reportedly lost following the passage of Hurricane Irma, the report said, while noting some of that may be attributed to hurricanes Maria or Jose.
“Replacement cost of lost traps, up to September 30, 2017, was valued at EC $387,240 and accounted for 44.4 percent of the estimated 4,899 traps in operation prior to the passage of Hurricane Irma.”
Some 17 gillnets, valued at EC $34,000, were also reported damaged.
The government, on Thursday, stated that  two 40-foot containers of fishing gear will be given to Barbudans shortly.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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