Fishermen: Gov't late on storm relief

Bahamian fishermen are hoping the Government will give further thought to their cry for fuel concessions, one representative telling this newspaper: “That would go a long way to helping the industry”.

Adrian LaRoda, the Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance (BCFA) chief, said that while Bahamian fishermen "certainly appreciated" the hurricane relief announced by the Government, they did not know how big an impact it will have.

“It's certainly appreciated, but I don't know what can actually be accomplished at this time considering that 99 per cent of the fishermen are already back up and operating," Mr LaRoda said.

"While we appreciate the efforts, I'm not sure how far it could go in terms of achieving what they want to achieve or what needs to be achieved. In essence, what they are doing is giving someone some money to go towards fuel for one trip. Even a small day fisher could use a few hundred dollars in fuel a day."

V Alfred Gray, minister of agriculture and marine resources, last week told Parliament that the Government has approved financial assistance for fishermen and farmers hit by Hurricane Joaquin.

Large fishermen can receive 10 per cent of their loss, medium fishermen 25 per cent of their loss, and small fishermen between 50-60 per cent of their assessed loss. Those whose loss does not amount to $1,000 will be 100 per cent assisted.

“What the Government could, and should, do is further consider our proposal to have concessions on fuel. That would go a long way to helping the industry," Mr LaRoda said.

"That would be a tremendous savings to fishermen. Saving $0.50 cents on a gallon of fuel would go a long way. I think the savings on fuel for fishing vessels could be as much as 50 per cent."


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