The Minister responsible for Agriculture & Fisheries Dr Natalio Wheatley, has said his ministry is actively considering multiple locations across the British Virgin Islands, which will be used to build modern agriculture and fisheries complexes.
Dr Wheatley made the statement while answering questions in the House of Assembly on whether his ministry have plans on reopening the fishing complex at Baugher’s Bay.
He said: “The ministry does not have plans to reopen the fishing complex at the Baugher’s Bay location. Following Cabinet’s approval at its meeting on the 9th of December 2019, the land that formerly house the BVI Fishing Complex, will be transferred to the BVI Ports Authority, to assist with the expansion of its main cargo handling and passenger terminal.”
Plans changed to accommodate modern facilities
As a result of this development, Dr Wheatley said his ministry was initially only seeking an alternative location for the fishing complex, but following the merger of Agriculture and Fisheries as a single department, plans were revised to seek land which will be able to accommodate local fishing and farming industries.
“We now envision an agriculture and fisheries complex that will be equipped to inspect, grade, process and market both agricultural and fish products and which will also serve as a cultural and tourism facility to maximise its marketing capacity and exposure for local fishers and farmers,” Minister Wheatley stated.
“I must also take this opportunity to emphasise that it is the vision of this government to establish fisheries facilities where fisherfolks can land their catch, collect ice and process, among other services in the eastern, western and central area of Tortola, in Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke,” he added.
Farmers and fishers in support of plan
Dr Wheatley further said that preliminary discussions were had with local farmers and fishers. He said they are in support of his ministry’s new vision for the complexes.
Meanwhile, no timeline was given as to when these projects will begin, or the set deadline for completion. However, Minister Wheatley said he will be bringing an update to the House of Assembly and the general public soon.
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