ATFA president: More urgent issues affecting fisherfolk

File photo: All Tobago Fisherfolk Association president Curtis Douglas.
File photo: All Tobago Fisherfolk Association president Curtis Douglas.

President of the All-Tobago Fishing Association (ATFA) Curtis Douglas is of the view that there are more important issues to address within the industry than the two outlined as priority by THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine for the quarter.

Speaking after a retreat of the executive council on January 8, Augustine said sea training inclusive of free diving lessons will be made available to fishermen by the Tobago Sea School, and all fishermen will be trained in the legislation and regulations for the operation of pirogues, including requirements for insurance and life vests.

Douglas said: “I’m very disappointed, but we are not angry.”

He said Augustine's plans are good, but fell short of what fisherfolk were looking forward to.

“It is a good initiative; it is a very good initiative but right now we have more urgent issues to attend to.”

He said on the campaign trail for 2021, the PDP made it very clear that they would fix the issues affecting fishermen and that they would represent them.

“No one has really spoken to the fisherfolk or even ATFA about the issue. You’re telling us now without consulting with me, without consulting with the entire fishing industry, even consulting or even having a conversation with us about what are the needs of the fishing community and the fisherfolk.”

He said ATFA came together as an executive to outline some of the key issues to be addressed as well as short- and long-term objectives. He said these are documented in hard copy.

“We would have sent e-mails and they said they didn’t receive it, so we sent a hard copy to the office of the Chief Secretary, and they had replied to us. We would have made contact with the Office of the Chief Secretary, and we would have had a conversation where we sent out a list of the things that are required, after that there was no response."

Douglas added, "I guess the Chief Secretary is settling down and he is busy, but we are patient.”


"ATFA president: More urgent issues affecting fisherfolk"

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