In strengthening and growing the fisheries sector into a full-fledged economic pillar, the Virgin Islands will soon engage the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) in the UK.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, Government of the Virgin Islands and the Secretary of State for Environment of the Government of the UK through CEFAS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday, November 9 for the exchange of scientific and technical knowledge.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering said the Territory stands to gain from the vast wealth of knowledge and expertise which resides with CEFAS, as they are the lead agency responsible for fisheries management in the UK.
Minister Pickering also said, “The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour anticipates through this effort, as well as other opportunities created by the formalisation of this relationship, that we will strengthen and grow the fisheries sector into a full-fledged economic pillar. I am fully committed to the development of the technical and economic capacity of our people and will ensure that the outcomes of this agreement will result in tangible benefits to the Virgin Islands.”
The MOU will provide a framework for the exchange and the augmentation of scientific and technical capabilities with respect to the marine environment and marine sciences for both parties. The memorandum will further foster collaborative opportunities and co-operation which may consist of exchanging technical information, visits, training, and cooperative research and projects which are consistent with the development of the fisheries sector.
The MOU was signed by Honourable Pickering and Rear Admiral (Rtd),Chief Executive Officer of the CEFAS, Mr. Tom Karsten. The signing was witnessed by Chairman of the Fisheries Advisory Committee, Mr. Ron Potter, and Group Manager of CEFAS,Mr. Koen Vanstaen.
Rear Admiral (Rtd) Tom Karsten said, “The relationship thus far has allowed us (CEFAS) to learn some of the more complex considerations facing [the Virgin Islands] in your challenges in your waters here. I hope in our own small way to be able to assist in gaining and building the capacity on both sides.”
He added, “I am delighted that we are here today. I am delighted that we have the chance for considerations of wider issues pertaining to the blue economy… and I’m particularly happy that we have the chance today to formalise what I believe is a very productive relationship in the shape of a Memorandum of Understanding and I hope that lays the ground work for long-term relations between CEFAS and the Virgin Islands Government in a way which will be helpful, and mutually beneficial to both of us.”
The Government of the Virgin Islands is steadily moving forward to make fishing a third economic pillar and sustainable sector in the Territory with the launch of the Fisheries Advisory Committeeas required under section 4(1) of the Fisheries Act, 1997.
The Fisheries Act, 1997 was enacted to promote, manage and conserve the fisheries, fisheries resources and associated matters of the Virgin Islands. Subsequently the Fisheries Regulations, 2003 were made to operationalise and implement the provisions of the Fisheries Act, 1997.
(from left to right) Koen Vanstaen of CEFAS, Rear Admiral Tom Karsten, CEO of CEFAS;Dr. the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering, Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour; Ron Potter, Chairman of the Fisheries Advisory Committee (assisted by, left to right, Malisa Ragnauth and Michelle Bhajan, Ministry of Natural resources and Labour).(Photo Credit: Ronnielle Frazer/GIS)
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