From rags to fishes - Kenneth Johnson made a living from the sea

November 12, 2015
File Kenneth Johnson

Starting with a few scraps of fishing lines and a small bucket, to owning a fishing boat and operating his own business,

64- year-old fisherman Kenneth Johnson says he has come a far way in his profession.

Johnson, who hails from St Thomas, said he was initially involved in small-scale farming, however, it was not yielding enough to maintain himself and his family, so he turned to fishing.

"When me look me see other young persons a catch fish and a do well fi demself, so me decide fi try it too, but I didn't have any money to buy the fishing lines or hooks," Johnson recalled.

Nonetheless, Johnson was determined to make a life out of fishing, so he collected the scraps of fishing lines and old hooks discarded by other fisherfolks, and cast his lines in the shallow waters where he was able to catch enough fish to be noticed by others.

Soon, Johnson's cousin, who owned a finishing boat, observed his natural aptitude for the craft and became a mentor of sorts for him.

"Him give me money to buy a proper line and hook and teach me how fi set it properly. Him teach me the craft until I became so brilliant that the second time I went to sea I caught a large bucket full of fish," Johnson recalled.

During his nearly 40 years of fishing, Johnson said he partnered with a credit union which advised him on how to manage his income from which he was able school his children, buy a fishing boat, which he fondly calls Fast Sprat, and build a small complex which he rents to


Now, Johnson supplies quality fish and lobsters to vendors, shops and restaurants in the Corporate Area.

Despite being able to earn his livelihood from fishing, Johnson concedes it can be considerably dangerous.

"A man affi respect fisherman because a risky thing. Me get lass a sea three years ago and when dem no see me come in, dem did think me dead. Is another fisherman rescue me," he said.

Johnson advises youngsters to consider a profession in fishing because it is rewarding.

"Times are hard and nuff money inna fish. To start out you just need to get a fishing line and a hook, then ask a man with a boat to carry you to the sea with him and ask him to teach you the craft," Johnson said.

Johnson can be contacted at 1-876-519-7826

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