Sunday, June 30, 2013
FOOD FOR THE POOR BOOSTS JET'S CAPABILITIES
The FFP donation to JET was handed over on Friday afternoon (June 28), at a Presentation Ceremony at the Lyssons Fishing Village in St. Thomas. Nakhle Hado, Technical Fishing Manager, FFP made the presentation to Llewelyn Meggs, JET Conservation Director, Pedro Banks Management Programme. In making the presentation, Mr. Hado said the gift was intended to help in enhancing the protection of Jamaica's fisheries, by helping JET to improve its mobility at sea.
The FFP Technical Fishing Manager asserted that the donation to JET will "facilitate its enforcement and management of the fisheries in the Pedro Banks Sanctuary."
JET has responsibility for spearheading the environmental protection of the Pedro Cays and the Pedro Banks. The Pedro Cays are located approximately 80 kilometres south of Jamaica's mainland. They are famous as a seabird nesting and roosting area, as well as a nesting area for many endangered turtles. Dozens of fisher folk who engage in deep sea fishing are domicile on the Cays. The Pedro Banks which are used by several fishermen are among Jamaica's largest fishing areas and contain very fragile coral and sea grass beds. They are also a primary harvesting area for conch.
Expressing his thanks, Mr. Meggs explained that it will be useful in assisting JET with having a designated boat for monitoring the waters off the Pedro Cays, especially in regard to the work it has been doing in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC). "We had leased a fisherman's boat in helping us to monitor the waters off the Pedro Banks, but now this donation from Food For The Poor will assist us in acquiring our own boat and thereby making us better able to patrol the fish sanctuary," the JET Conservation Director pointed out.
He said JET has trained six fishermen from the Pedro Cays in environmental awareness and protection/enforcement. Mr. Meggs advised that JET will be expanding that programme shortly.
At Friday's presentation exercise, FFP also rewarded fisherfolk who have demonstrated excellence in deep-sea fishing and business practices that are ecologically and economically sound. Out of the 200 fishers who are attached to Food For The Poor's 16 Fishing Villages islandwide, five attained top awards. Vanburn "Vannie" Levy of Manchioneal Fishing Village, Portland achieved first prize, while his colleague attached to the same Fishing Village, Clive "Hutchy" Johnson walked away with second prize. Mr. Levy also copped the Awards of Excellence for the 'Best Fisherman' and the 'Best Catch' for the period 2012-2013.
Third to fifth prizes went to the following fisherfolk respectively: Brad "Puddy" Blair, Seven Miles Fishing Village, St. Andrew; Marva Espuet, Lyssons Fishing Village, St. Thomas; and Trevor Bagnold, Annotto Bay Fishing Village, St. Mary.
For their prizes, Food For The Poor presented each of the five awardees with a Certificate of Excellence, a new Yamaha 40 HP outboard engine, a cooler for storing fish and a gas tank. They received additional prizes of life jacket vests and spark plugs from Yamaha Jamaica Ltd.
Mr. Hado outlined the aims of the presentation awards programme, "Many of these fishers risk their lives in going far out of sea regularly to earn a living. The best way we can reward them at this time is to boost their safety by ensuring that they have new outboard engines."
Trevor Bagnold was one of two fishers who responded on behalf of the awardees. Sharing that it was as a result of the FFP Fishing Village Programme that he learnt to fish in 2004, Mr. Bagnold beamed with pride, that "through FFP I can own a home." He expressed appreciation to the charity for providing he and his colleagues islandwide with access to fishing and environment-related training programmes at the Jamaica Maritime Institute. Mr. Bagnold added, "Food For The Poor has changed a lot of poor people lives, and turned their lives around, so that they can help their families."
Speaking at Friday's Presentation Exercise, Gary Isaacs, Chief Fisheries Instructor, Fisheries Division, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries praised the fishermen for the important role they are playing in helping to feed Jamaicans. He urged them to use the prizes in advancing their productivity and welfare: "We expect you to use what you are given in a responsible manner. Food For The poor has invested so much in you, so you need to be responsible in carrying out your acts." Among those participating in Friday's event were Jacqueline Johnson, Executive Director, FFP; Ron Burgess, Senior Director, Recipient Services, FFP; Selena Ledgister-Kellier, Agriculture and Fishing Manager, FFP; Assistant Superintendent Oral Foster, Marine Police Division and Lieutenant Leonard Wynter, Assistant Operations Officer, JDF Coast Guard.
Since 2000, FFP has established fishing villages across the island where fisherfolk are able to access proper fishing equipment, and are provided with gear sheds, coolers and freezers. FFP also trains fishermen in the several skills including: safety at sea, navigation, deep-water fishing, technical fishing, business management and environment protection. Those who benefit from the training are expected to transfer their skills and knowledge to the younger members of the community and are expected to look after the needs of the elderly.
FFP also assists in boosting the fleet of the Marine Police, so that they will be better able to play a critical role in the search and rescue of fishermen, and crime fighting efforts in Jamaica's coastal waters.
Food For The Poor (FFP)-Jamaica is the largest charity organization in the country. Food For The Poor Inc., located in Florida, USA, was named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest international relief and development organization.
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