The fishing community in Barbados has embarked on a mission to assist vulnerable members of society affected by the impact of COVID-19 on the island.
It will see them donating fish to the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs and other agencies for distribution to those in need.
The initiative is being spearheaded by 59-year-old Captain and boat owner, Everton Brathwaite, who explained this was their way of giving back to society during this challenging time.
In an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, at the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex, the fisherman of 47 years, said many of them knew firsthand how it felt to be without a job, as their livelihoods were severely impacted by the fish kill of the early 2000s.
“I remember years ago when we had the fish kill. Everybody was working and we weren’t working …. We working now and a lot of people are not working. The Prime Minister gave us the go ahead to go and fish, so now we are in a position to help, why not return the favour?” said the veteran fisherman, as he thanked the public for their support over the years.
Brathwaite is appealing to fellow boat owners and others in the industry to join in and contribute to this worthy cause, noting that every fish counts.
“The tuna boats, if we have 20 boats and every boat could catch a tuna, that is 20 tuna. 100 pounds of tuna, at three pounds, could go a long way,” he said.
Several fish vendors have also joined the cause. Spokesperson, Judy Sobers, said they were pleased to be part of the initiative, noting that they were keen on helping the vulnerable members of society.
She noted that every year, there was a customer appreciation event where customers would be treated to fish free of cost, but this year, it would be different with fish being collected and distributed to the less fortunate.
Brathwaite and his team are expected to begin fishing tomorrow morning, on board his vessel, Natalie P139.