No flying fish Christmas: Fishermen complaining, fuel costs daunting Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

For fishermen at the Berinda Cox Fish Market in Oistins, this Christmas has been anything but normal, and it has been made even harder knowing that they won’t be compensated or granted any concessions from government for their expenses and wasted time.

Some fishermen said they are drowning under the high fuel costs.

“My diesel alone costs $8,000”

Loop chatted with two fishermen with over 60 years of experience collectively and heard how bewildered they have been left by the turn of events at sea this December.

Giving his moniker ‘Black Smoke’, he said that it costs him $16,000 to move his boat every trip, and recently he is not even breaking even or making back his $8,000-fuel bill. Black Smoke, who is a long-line fisherman, shared that his last two trips were a financial bust when he considers not just the cost of fuel, but the costs for bait, ice, food and pay for the workers every trip.

He said that on his last trip before the closure of the markets for the Christmas holidays, he only made between $3,500 and $4,100 back when he sold his catch. He usually brings in dolphins and marlin and such in December, but this year it was dismal and definitely “no dolphins, and everybody calling for dolphins”.

Asked if the fisherfolk get any concessions or assistance, he quickly said, “No!”

Black Smoke also complained about seeing some foreign vessels near the watermark or just beyond Barbados’ waters, and he said out of fear fishermen like himself refused to approach or get too close, but he believes that their patterns and their fishing contributed to the poor fishing results in December.

This is the most expensive I have seen flying fish sold for in a December

Echoing a similar tune about input costs, fly fisherman Mr Bourne said this was one of the worse Decembers he has seen in history.

He said in an effort to recoup finances they tried to stay out longer to catch success, and as such his last trip was not 10 days but 21 days, yet that came to naught. “My last trip was 21 days! I was just trying to double my spend, but I ain’t get it back,” he lamented.

For his ice boat, Mr Bourne said his fuel bill is $4,000, and like Black Smoke, he did not even break even. He spent $1,200 on ice and $800 for food plus bait.

Perplexed, the seasoned fly fisherman urged someone needs to help determine what is happening with the flying fish.

The price of flying fish skyrocketed to $45 per pack of 10 in December at some markets, when fisherfolk realized the highly demanded commodity was going to be in very short supply.

Mr Bourne said in earnest, “This is one of the most disappointing years in terms of flying fish. I’ve seen some bad ones but in comparison to the past few years, nothing like this. This is the most expensive I have seen flying fish sold for in a December ever, and we don’t know what is going on with the flying fish. They just not there.”