National Democratic Party (NDP) candidate seeking re-election in the Eighth District Marlon Penn plans to form a cooperative between local fisherfolk and government.
“In this relationship with government, we will assist with the establishment of local and external markets to our fishermen,” Penn said at the launch of his re-election campaign on Saturday.
This fishing cooperative is part of Penn’s wider plan — which is a spillover ambition from the last elections — to largely develop the territory’s fishing industry through his district.
The two-term legislator, who believes fishing will become the BVI’s next economic pillar said, “plans are already afoot” to improve and enforce local fishing laws.
GPS, drone technology to police local waters
These laws, he said, will be to “protect against overfishing and illegal fishing within our (the BVI’s) waters”.
“We’ll use modern technology like GPS, drones, and other methods to better protect our banks and police our waters,” Penn said.
He further said his plans for the industry will be a collaboration between himself and his running mate in the neighbouring Seventh District, Hipolito Diego Penn.
He said, if they are elected, they will develop what he described as a ‘road map’ to venture into areas such as long lining, fish farming, and sports fishing.
“We must expose our current and prospective fishermen to these new opportunities,” Penn argued while further rehashing talks about developing a modern fishing facility in the Red Bay area of his district.
“I see a lot of spin-off opportunities from this facility here at Red Bay once truly completed. I also see an opportunity for a twin fishing and farmers market where there is a supply of fresh fish and fresh produce. I also envision Red Bay as an economic gateway for our people.”
He continued: “The Seventh and Eighth districts combined represent over 10,000 residents with tremendous potential in the marine space. I see an opportunity for our local charter boats and ferry operators embarking and disembarking with busloads of tourists who were picked up from the newly-built cruise pier.”
Penn had spoken of this vision in his election campaign back in 2011.
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