Caribbean fishers count the cost in wake of Irma
Several Caribbean island nations unfortunate enough to find themselves in the path of Hurricane Irma in early September are now assessing the vast toll the storm took on their economies, with Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos reporting severe damage to their fishing industries.
The hurricane is estimated to have cost the Caribbean more than EUR 8.4 billion (USD10 billion) in damage overall, along with dozens of lives.
Barbuda recorded the first three fatalities of Hurricane Irma, including a two-year-old boy. The island also suffered most severely in regard to its fishing fleet, with at least 44 percent of its fishing vessels suffering serious damage when the hurricane made landfall on the island on 6 September. Of those vessels, only about 10 percent of were insured, according to information shared with SeafoodSource by Antigua and Barbuda Senior Fisheries Officer Ian Horsford. He cited a 2005 survey that indicated just 9.6 percent of Barbuda’s fishing vessels were insured up to then.
Prior to Hurricane Irma, which resulted in the total evacuation of this island’s inhabitants to neighboring Antigua, there were 96 active fishers operating there on 54 vessels – mainly modern fibreglass pirogues powered by outboard engines, most of which were less than 10 meters long.
Read more at: SeafoodSource