Tricia Lovell, the Deputy Chief Fisheries Officer, says the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for increased food security within the fisheries sector.
Lovell said that more support needs to be given to fisherfolk since Antigua and Barbuda currently imports a significant quantity of its seafood requirements.
“When we think about food security in terms of the seafood products that we consume in Antigua and Barbuda a lot of it is unfortunately imported. So when you look at your import figures you are seeing a significant amount of seafood products being imported. A lot of these are temperate species-some of your cold water species like your salmon et cetera,” Lovell said.
According to Lovell, there is, however, a significant amount of seafood that is landed by fishers in Antigua and Barbuda.
She said one of the issues which the current economic situation has highlighted is the need for the residents to continue to support fishermen and the fishing industry as a whole.
“It really has brought a light to the need for us to ensure our food security because obviously once you have situations where your borders might be compromised [and] imports are not coming in as they should or used to, then we really need to be able to feed ourselves.
“So I think COVID-19 2020 has really highlighted the need for us to ensure our food security, the need for us to ensure our fisheries are able to support us, first nationally and then other sectors like tourism and exports et cetera,” Lovell said.
World Fisheries Day was observed on November 21.