Fishermen and farmers see busy roadside trade after restrictions eased
Licensed farmers and fishermen were back out selling their produce by the roadside over the weekend after Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed.
At a press conference on Friday, the Government announced changes to Covid-19 regulations that allowed farmers and fishermen to sell produce from roadside stalls.
It came after a petition was launched to change the rules and after farmers lobbied to be allowed to sell from the roadside.
Roland Hill, of J & J Produce told The Royal Gazette on Saturday: “We got up early and everything is going fine. It is business as usual but with the alphabetical system. It was a long time waiting, we had been working with government since Monday.
“They have all been working hard towards a solution – Drew Pettit [director for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources] worked really hard to make it all happen and we have to thank Carlos Amaral who is the spokesman for the Bermuda Farmers Association.
“The Government had been overwhelmed with applications for exemptions but people need to eat. I just hope this doesn’t happen again for us as licensed sellers.”
Scott Barnes, a fisherman, said on Saturday that he was glad that common sense had prevailed.
He said: “They finally got it right, we have been out on Trimingham Hill since just after 9am this morning. It’s been busy all day.
“Everyone who stopped said how much they want their fish. We would have been here on Friday – that is our normal day – but at least we are here now.
“I hope the Government has learnt a lesson. Last year we never stopped – we had to change it up we had to socially distance, only serve two people at a time and use the alphabetical system and it worked.
“When we went back into lockdown this time we thought that would have been the case but they changed it up.”
Mr Barnes said while they usually only sell roadside on Fridays, he would try to get out on more days including today, to give more people a chance to buy his produce.
Prior to the announcement on Friday, Mr Barnes had said he was left frustrated by the policies which allowed him to fish, but not sell his catch.
He said that he had caught more than a thousand pounds of fish and had been concerned that he would have to “throw it overboard to feed the fish”.
Mr Barnes explained that roadside stalls were important for fishermen because it allowed them to sell types of fish that grocery stores don’t often buy.
He said: “A lot of them don’t want fish, and those that do like to buy mainly three types of fish: wahoo, tuna and rockfish.
“They are not buying a majority of what local fishermen have. Right now, that’s not really what we are catching. It’s just not what’s biting.”
The petition to allow people to buy from farm and fisherman stalls on the roadside has attracted 5,181 signatures to date.