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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Rep. Méndez to review static fishing village project in Vieques

Rep. Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Nuñez

By The Star Staff

The New Progressive Party delegation minority leader in the House of Representatives, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Nuñez, announced the beginning of an investigation to find out why a fishing village has not been built in Vieques’ La Esperanza sector despite the fact that since 2018, $250,000 in funding has been allocated for the work.

“It is important for the fishermen of Vieques to have a fishing village, a viable floating dock, that allows them to carry out their work in a safe environment. However, since the 1990s, the Vieques Fishermen’s Association, which brings together citizens who make a living from fishing, has requested a floating dock in the La Esperanza sector, and that work has been mired in controversy,” Méndez said. “For years nothing was done, then the previous administration built a pier that did not meet the specifications of the project and that Hurricane Fiona took away. Here there was a legislative allocation of $250,000 in 2018 for that project and it was not done well.”

“In June 2017, the Superior Court, Humacao chamber, ordered the construction of a floating dock under a series of specifications that includes capacity for 30 vessels. That didn’t happen,” the former House speaker continued. “The previous municipal administration paid the company that developed the incomplete dock for the entire project, as if it had been completed and delivered according to the specifications outlined in the concept. We are going to review what happened with this facility, where the allocated resources are, and when the facility is going to be built for the use of the fishermen.”

The District 36 (Río Grande, Luquillo, Fajardo, Ceiba, Vieques and Culebra) lawmaker made his remarks during a meeting with a representative of the Fishermen’s Association, which is seeking to develop the facility conceptualized in the original plans.

“We will be communicating with the relevant agencies to learn the project’s status, just as we do not rule out filing a resolution for the House of Representatives to investigate the delay in this project,” Méndez said.

According to figures available from the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, there are some 1,100 commercial fishermen with fishing licenses in Puerto Rico, of which 400 fish full time.

It is estimated that commercial fishing in Puerto Rico generates around $8 million in wholesale sales and over $25 million in retail and food sales each year, figures that point to it being an important sector of the economy with significant opportunities for growth.

In 2021, a total catch of 1.72 million pounds was reported.

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