“A Premier Distribution Centre for Fresh Fish Daily”
The Carenage Fish Market has opened its doors to the general public one year today! Its design and operations confirm a quantum leap in domestic fish marketing and an uplifting experience for Trinidad and Tobago one of which we can all be proud.
At the new Fishing Centre, fresh fish purchased by vendors from Carenage fishermen and elsewhere are offered for sale by vendors are displayed in stainless steel fabricated bins, on crushed ice, and sealed under clear plexiglass. This is necessary to maintain the cold chain quality standards. Contaminated ice at the end of each day is dumped and unsold fish is no longer available to consumers for purchase after re-cycling once or twice in cold storage. The fish although still safe for consumption is sometimes salted and dried using traditional methods, what is locally known as “corn fish”.
Purchased fish is gutted, cleaned and sliced on sanitized plastic cutting boards according to consumer preference. Abundant potable water flows to wash and clean up after each sale. Vendors wear appropriate attire i.e. personal protective gear such as white steel-toed rubberized boots, white leather aprons and hair nets. Fish waste is collected on a daily basis and disposed of responsibly. In this regard, the new facility is an excellent initiation into modernized domestic fish marketing.
The Carenage Fishing Centre falls under the management of the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute located in Chaguaramas and close monitoring is done by Keegan Slinger, Fisheries Project Implementation Officer to prevent vendors from reverting to their former unsanitary practices and to ensure no operational issues occur.
Fish prices are competitive at $30/lb for kingfish and vendors are willing to sell steaks to consumers not desirous of purchasing the whole fish. Carite, Red fish, Shark, Cro cro and Cavalli are the top species sold at the market with prices ranging from $15/lb to $25/lb. Tuna, Mahi mahi (Dolphin) and Lobster are also available. Most sales as is customarily done are handled by vendors but some adhoc sales take place at the jetty toward the seaward side of the facility where prices are slightly lower. Prices are usually dependent upon landings, the trade-off being quality assurance, food safety and consumer health.
Quality control is ongoing to ensure that fish vendors adhere strictly to rules and regulations governing the fish market at Carenage and monitoring is by sight and immediate correction. All consumers making larger or smaller purchases are urged to walk with coolers or cooler bags, as ice is provided to keep their fish chilled during transport.
Since proper fish marketing is the end result in terms of maintenance of the cold chain, Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute, through their Seafood Training and Technology Programme promotes an ongoing educational component targeting fishermen which aims at reducing quality deterioration during fish harvesting and transport. The practice of proper handling and icing of fish on-board and ‘bleeding’ of certain species are encouraged, to provide a higher quality consumer product. The primary objective is the provision of high quality fresh fish to consumers, in addition to the highly anticipated tourist activity i.e. the proposed Fish Fry next door has the potential to give Oistens, a ‘run for its money’.
The Carenage Fishing Facility remains a major point of sale for fresh fish in the country. The major upgrade makes it a premium outlet for the sale of high quality fishery products, with the potential to become one of the most important retail fish markets in the country. The facility has a very comprehensive range of services provided for fishermen and the introduction of a fee system is implemented at a very nominal level for maintenance purposes. The list of services are as follows; slipway, berthing, boat repair area, net repair area, engine service room, facilities and administrative offices, multi-purpose room, lockers, water storage, wholesale area, retail area, ice machines, cold storage, internal parking and external parking for customers. The entire compound is secured with security fencing and has 24-hour on-site security. Relocation of the Carenage Police Station to the Main road adds a great sense of security for the business community as well as civilians venturing into the area. A bonus is the publicly accessible jetty on the eastern side of the facility.
Once again, thumbs up for the Carenage Fishing Centre and the technical team/advisors for modernizing domestic fish marketing at one site in West Trinidad, Carenage, and within easy reach to service other areas or persons wishing to traverse to the western side of the island for a life changing experience.
Monday – Saturday 7:00am – 5:00pm
Sundays and Public Holidays – 7:00am – 2:00pm