BVI News

Fisherfolk urged to exercise safety during hazardous sea conditions

Director of the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries is urging local fisherfolk to remain safe and informed with weather forecasts as the territory continues to experience hazardous sea conditions.

This caution comes following a number of small craft advisories and warnings from the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) during the week of Monday, January 13.

“Stay safe and put safety first, stay informed, stay vigilant, stay in communication, let experience and wisdom be your guide,” Director Theodore James urged during an interview with BVI News.

He added: “Experienced fishers normally stay informed of all advisory regarding oceanic and atmospheric changes affecting the territory; whether that information is gathered by satellite, DDM, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), or the US Coast Guard weather alerts via VHF radio.”

Director James said that despite the recent disruption in sea conditions, there have been no reported cases of concerns raised from local fisherfolk to his department.

He also said his department does not prohibit persons from operating their businesses during hazardous sea conditions once they comply with the laws.

“We can only ask persons to use their discretion in regards to traversing the seas in unfavourable weather conditions,” James stated.

Allow sea conditions to get better before fishing

The DDM’s Information & Education Manager, Chrystall Kanyuck-Abel has, however, advised fisherfolk who operate alone at sea to wait until the conditions settle before venturing out.

“If you’re going out by yourself on a small vessel, you’re really vulnerable to these high waves and we are talking about the potential for 10 to 14-foot high waves,” she stated.

According to a Tuesday, January 14 weather forecast from the DDM, a small craft warning for small craft operators remains in effect in the British Virgin Islands until midday Wednesday. After, it is expected to be replaced by a small craft advisory for the rest of the day.

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