The successful completion of training sessions for fisher folk and other key fisheries stakeholders has resulted in the official handover of a central fisheries database to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
The training workshops, which consisted of three components, were a part of the Darwin Plus funded project entitled, "Capacity Building in Fisheries Evidence, Networks, and Management (Virgin Islands)” in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Director Mr. Theodore James stated that the training workshops enhanced skillsets and increased knowledge in the area of fisheries management, which is a key area in the Virgin Islands economy.
He added that the workshops were comprehensive and aimed at effectively establishing the fisheries database, and equipping officers with the requisite skills to collect, analyse, and manage fisheries data.
Mr. James said, "We are now better positioned to perform analyses on the fisheries data we collect and receive. The support provided through the Darwin Plus funding initiative and collaboration with the United Kingdom Government's Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences, Cefas, on this component of the project has made significant inroads towards our goal of greater insight into fisheries in the Virgin Islands."
The workshops were attended by stakeholders in fisheries, including government officials from the Premier's Office, Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. The final training exercise was facilitated by Marine Scientific Advisor Shannon White from United Kingdom Cefas and Government Information Services Analyst William Procter.
Mr. Procter stated the training workshops and handover was a result of over two years of collaboration between Cefas and the VI Government, aiming to facilitate and improve fisheries management in the Virgin Islands.
The successful completion of the training sessions also resulted in the official handover of a central fisheries database by the United Kingdom Government's Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (Cefas), to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
“This data collection, storage, and analysis procedure was developed to provide valuable understanding of fisheries data now an in the future,” the facilitator explained, adding, “It has been great to work with the VI Government and all stakeholders and it is good to see how this will be used in VI," Mr. Procter stated.
The Darwin Plus funded project "Capacity Building in Fisheries Evidence, Networks, and Management (Virgin Islands)" aims to enhance the knowledge and capacity of the Government of the Virgin Islands staff, fisher folk and key fisheries stakeholders for fisheries management. The project also seeks to improve the collation and display of fisheries data and evidence.
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries continues to strive towards responsible management of resources to maintain a conducive environment in which the fishing and agriculture sectors can thrive.