Conservation & Fisheries Department - Fisheries Resources
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Herman Thomas

Fisherman’s Day, observed in the BVI on 1st July 2005, involved a great many activities on Long Bay Beach, Beef Island. One of the most significant of those activities, as far as the staff of the Conservation & Fisheries Department was concerned, was the presentation of a plaque to Mr. Herman Thomas, a local fisherman from East End.

The award acknowledged the years of dedication and service rendered to Mr. Thomas’ East End neighbourhood community, and to the rest of the Virgin Islands, in the area of fisheries industry development. While the public presentation was significant in and of itself, the Department, whose goal it is to promote the development of the BVI fishing industry into the 3rd economic pillar, wished to make a deeper impression on Mr. Thomas of its appreciation.

On Tuesday, 6th September, at 10am, Mr. Thomas was treated to an informal, but emotional gathering of the Department staff in his honour. The Chief Conservation & Fisheries Officer, Bertrand Lettsome led his staff in expressions of gratitude to Mr. Thomas for the many aspects of fishing lore and tradition that he had actively sought to pass on to the coming generations during his life. Mr. Thomas was presented with a framed photo of himself holding the plaque he received on Fisherman’s Day 2005 by Ken Pemberton, a young and upcoming master fisherman in his own right, also on staff with the Department. Fisheries Officer, Christine Chan A Shing, acknowledged the members of the staff committee who were instrumental in selecting Mr. Thomas for the award on Fisherman’s Day, and applauded their choice as an excellent one.

In a quote, Mr. Bertrand Lettsome said, “We believe in giving honour where honour is due. While we have always awarded persons every year during our World Environment Day ceremonies for their participation in local environmental and fisheries management, we realize that it is also important to single out those individuals who work quietly and have great impact. We intend to make the general public more aware of the importance of fisheries to our heritage and present day lives. To this end, we will be paying special tribute to those men and women who are the ‘pioneers’ of our growing fishing industry during the coming months and leading up to next year’s Fisherman’s Day”.

Sam Davies, Assistant Fisheries Officer with the Department, pointed out that the great majority of persons in the East End community “…learned how to ‘seine fish’ at Mr. Thomas’ knee, on his boat…and using his equipment”.

In his own response to the words of reminiscing and accolades by many of the Department staff members, Mr. Thomas said, “I can’t believe you all are paying so much attention to a small man like myself…but I thank GOD Almighty, because a good name is better than silver or gold…this was truly unexpected, but very much appreciated…and I hope to see more of you all out there on the sea fishing”.

That his remarks were punctuated with bible quotations, and at times even resembled a Sunday-morning sermon was not surprising. As a local lay preacher, Mr. Thomas is more than just an avid fisherman; he is also a ‘fisher of men’ for GOD.

 

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