(Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News) The BVI Fishing Complex in Baughers Bay prior to the 2017 hurricanes.
The BVI Fishing Complex in Baughers Bay, which was pummeled by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 will not be repaired. Instead, it was announced that the structure will be torn down to facilitate necessary BVI Ports Authority expansion.
The disclosure was made by Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley during a community meeting held at Church of God of Prophecy, on November 27.
Hon. Wheatley told his constituents that one of the matters at hand for government is the fact that the fisheries building must be leveled.
“The Fisheries Complex has to be torn down because the Port has to expand to keep their certification because of course the bodies which accredit these ports require you to have a certain amount of space.”
While further stressing the need to get rid of the fisheries building, Hon. Wheatley stated, “It is important that we provide the Ports with the space to be able to expand which means the Fisheries Complex has to move.”
Meanwhile, the Minister explained that government has big plans to make the fishing sector viable through a partnership agreement that would facilitate purchasing of local fish by international buyers.
He explained that he has great plans for the fishing sector and has already had talks with fisherpersons.
“My vision for fisheries, which I have been discussing with fisherpersons in meetings I’ve been having on agriculture and fisheries.”
Part of the vision the Minister said is for the facilitation of easy access by fisherpersons with their catch at various locations around the Territory.
He told the gathering, “Facilities for landing our catches in the east, the west, central, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke etc. that’s the vision and currently I am identifying sites to put fisheries complexes.”
Similar to the plan to have investors purchase cultivated medical marijuana, the Minister for Agriculture said that the idea is to have investors purchase local fish from fisherpersons.
Hon. Wheatley said, “I’m also entertaining proposals. In the next coming months I will be having a meeting with some investors who will be interested to partner with our local fisher persons in a similar way that we’re suggesting with the medical marijuana industry.”
“As opposed to coming here and fishing up our waters we have our fisherpersons pool fish and sell it to the investors once we’ve satisfied local demands. We’re going to ensure that it is sustainable fishing. That we don’t just go and over fish the waters and leave the waters dead and the investors can move on to another area,” the Minister explained.