Press Release – Tuesday, April 26th 2005
It Will Soon Get Easier To Reclaim Ghost Fish Traps
The non-profit organization, Digicel Foundation has handed over a 27ft fishing boat to the Fisheries Division valued at $9.3 Million.
In making the presentation of the new boat, ‘Challenger’, Major General Robert Neish, Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation stated that the latest donation is “a great highlight of our(the Foundation’s) on-going co-operation with the Office of National Reconstruction”. He explained that the money is part of the $200Million allocated by the Digicel Foundation to the Hurricane Ivan restoration efforts across the island.
Major General Neish was speaking at the Official Handing-over ceremony of the new boat on Friday(May 6) at the Coast Guard Base, Port Royal. The ‘Challenger’, is to be used by the Fishing Sector to locate missing fish traps and other fishing gears which get lost during turbulent weather systems, including hurricanes, storms, flooding.
The vessel is also to play a major role in assisting the Fisheries Division in any surveys or assessment of the coastal eco-system. “This component is critical in that it will provide a much-needed record of the current status of the coastal marine ecosystem, and this data will in turn be used to make critical fisheries management and development decisions,” said Andre Kong, Director of Fisheries while addressing participants at Friday’s official Handing-over Ceremony for the boat.
He lamented that an estimated $2.3billion in damage to the island’s Capture Fisheries Support Services infrastructure was sustained, during Hurricane Ivan. Expressing gratitude to Digicel Foundation for the boat which boats a 250 horsepower engine, the Director of Fisheries noted that because of the boat’s special design, it can go into areas with shallow water, through which other such vessels would find it difficult maneuvering , in their bid to assess fish stocks and marine systems.
Mr. Kong also pointed out that the ‘Challenger’ would be utilized in conducting beach cleanup activities, and in ensuring a quick response time in the event that the Fisheries Division has top assist the Marine Police, in search and rescue matters.
Another important feature of the ‘Challenger’ is that it is environmentally friendly. According to the Fisheries Division, this gift from Digicel Foundation is 40% more efficient in fuel usage, and also gives off fewer emissions than other boats of a similar size.
Digicel Foundation is a non-profit Organization established by Digicel to support community-based and community-driven activities. To date the Foundation has rebuilt the Lakes Pen basic school in St. Catherine, provided recreational facilities in Arnett Gardens in Kingston and Farm Heights/ Rose Heights in St. James.
In terms of hurricane recovery initiatives, the Foundation has funded the repairs of over 200 schools, 16 libraries, various departments of the Meteorological Service and will help in the relocation of the residents of Portland cottage and Rocky Point.