New exec. encourages Barbadians to join blue economy

New Chief Fisheries Officer wants more youth, women to join fisheries industry 

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — Jobs in Barbados’ blue economy could be in for an economic boost as a new chief exec. in town rolls out a plan to bolster the industry.

Dr. Shelly-Ann Cox, the new Chief Fisheries Officer as of January 2023, has unveiled her “five-pronged vision” to improve the nation’s blue economy:

  • Modernizing the fisheries sector
  • Improving industry standards and production quality
  • Improving public perception of fisheries
  • Encouraging training initiatives and labour market growth within the sector
  • Climate change response and action
jobs in Barbados

Dr. Cox wants to change the public perception of the fisheries sector in Barbados.

Through this ambitious agenda, Dr. Cox intends to bolster the blue economy and improve its GDP outputs.

Ideally, Barbados’ fisheries sector will be able to ramp up exports to foreign markets including the United Kingdom, Canada and even West Africa.

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    Fisheries jobs in Barbados must expand

    However, for the fisheries sector to see the anticipated level of development, it’s going to need more diverse works and better training, Dr. Cox opined.

    A government statement outlining the new chief executive’s plan noted that “first on her list is raising the profile of the industry and changing the views of the public as it relates to seeing fishing as a career that is not held in high esteem”.

    To this end, Cox emphasized that “several careers exist in the fishing industry outside of fishing”.

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    Part of her five-pronged approach includes modernizing the industry.

    “There is boat building, marine mechanics, large fish processors, sports fishers, which take out people on charters…” she said.

    “It is beyond just viewing it as an old fisherman going out on a little boat.”

    But training programmes and labour market expansion are key to improving this public perception, she added.

    According to the government statement, Cox aims to “engage more young people to encourage them to become a part of the industry”.

    She spoke to the need to ensure skills possessed by the aging fisheries workforce are not lost but instead passed onto the next generation, even as the industry seeks to modernize and incorporate new technologies.

    Cox said, “We want to see those [skills] integrated in schools and training programmes to ensure they are not dying arts.”

    Further, the government statement on the matter added, “Noting that most boat captains were 50 years or older, Cox said efforts will be made to recruit people who are not just part of a coastal community but may have an interest and be willing to try fishing.

    “In addition, the female Chief Fisheries Officer also wants to see more women involved in fishing along all tiers of the value chain.”

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