The Minister of Tourism, Environment, Heritage, Maritime & Gaming, Hon. Ralph Higgs, accompanied by Permanent Secretary, Cherylann Jones, and other senior officials visited South Caicos on Friday 2nd March. The purpose of the visit was to meet with Seafood Plant Operators, and Fishermen, to get a better understanding of state of the industry since the opening of the Conch and Lobster seasons.
South Caicos, the fishing capital, of the Turks & Caicos Islands currently has three functioning plants, which provides jobs for many of the South Caicos residence. With almost 100 licensed fishermen, and other persons working in the plants. The plants also export conch and lobster and supply local markets, the Minister had the opportunity to tour a fishing plant and engage fishermen.
In a meeting with the fisher folk, Minister Higgs, indicated his intention to work closely with the stakeholders in the fisheries industry to ensure the sustainability of their livelihoods, fish stocks, and securing opportunities for a robust and diversified industry. He went on to say that the issue of illegal poaching of banks was high on his agenda. He requested the commitment of the fishermen in working with the Department of Environment & Coastal Resources (DECR) in policing this precious resource.
The visit also lend itself to a few site visits of development on the island which are being monitored by the DECR.