The Territory is about to have multiple fishing complexes. This was the announcement made by the Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley during the questions and answers segment of the 27 February sitting of the House of Assembly.
Hon. Wheatley in response to a question from Leader of the Opposition Hon. Marlon Penn repeated a previous announcement that the current fisheries location was ceded to the BVI Ports Authority. “The Ministry does not have plans to reopen the Fishing Complex at the Baughers Bay location.”
The Minister explained that following Cabinet’s approval at its meeting on 9 December 2019 the land that formerly housed the BVI Fishing Complex was transferred to the BVI Ports Authority to assist with the expansion of its main cargo handling and passenger terminal
However, the Minister noted that the plans that Government previously had for the BVI Fishing Complex have changed and they are pursuing a new plan that involves multiple outlets located in various parts of the Territory.
Hon. Wheatley told the House, “Initially my Ministry was only seeking an alternative site for the Fishing Complex, However with the merger of Agriculture and Fisheries as a single department and our desire to expand this sector of our economy we are now using a more holistic approach in our search of land that can accommodate the local fishing and farming industries.”
In stating how the plan has evolved the Minister with responsibility for Fisheries stated: “We now envision an agriculture and fisheries complex that would be equipped to inspect grade process and market both agriculture and fish products. which may also serve as a cultural and tourism facility to maximize its marketing capacity and exposure for our local fishers and farmers.”
Meanwhile, Hon. Wheatley noted that the fishermen are in agreement with the plans. “Preliminary discussions with fishers and farmers have been supportive of this new vision. We are actively considering multiple locations for fisheries complexes. I must also take this opportunity to emphasize that it is the vision of this government to establish fisheries facilities where fisherfolks can land their catch, collect ice and process among other services in the eastern, western and central area of Tortola, in Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke,” the Minister stated.
“I wish to give the assurance to the Hon. Member that I would update you and the House of Assembly and the public shortly on this matter,” Hon. Wheatley added.