The fisheries and maritime industries have always played a critical role in the socio-economic development of T&T.
Playing an important role in both sectors is the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute which was established in 1975 under the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries to address the training needs of T&T and Caricom nationals.
CFTDI principal Tullia Ible explained: "Our mandate is to provide training in all aspects of fishing technologies, and more particularly, to provide the appropriate technical assistance and support that can contribute to a viable fishing industry in the Caricom region."
The importance of the CFTDI has increased as a result the recession currently facing T&T. Through its diverse training portfolio, the institute provides students with viable entrepreneurial opportunities and career options. Located along the west coast in Chaguaramas, the CFDTI recognises the need for competent fishing and maritime personnel capable of safely navigating the Caribbean seas with the ultimate aim of adding socio-economic value.
Ible explained: "Our research into best practices is ongoing, as our primary goal is to ensure that our trainees are equipped with the best in cutting-edge technologies."
Two areas of training, maritime and fish processing, are offered in two semesters from February to June and July to November, and the institute boasts of having excellent training equipment and support facilities that comply with accepted international standards.
"The training momentum at the institute is at all-time high. For 2015, we have been able to train upwards of 700 individuals, which includes our annual cohort from the Maritime Operations programme of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic of Barbados, in addition to fishers from Grenada who were sponsored by the Basic Needs Trust Fund of that country," said Ible.
Capacity building and institutional strengthening are also high priority on the institute's agenda to ensure all aspects of training offered are adequately met in accordance with needs identified by its wide stakeholder base.