Fisher Folk may be Compensated for Dredging of Kingston Harbour


The Ministries of Transport and Works and Agriculture are looking into the possibility of assisting fishermen who were affected by dredging operations carried out by the Port Authority of Jamaica to increase the depth of the Kingston Harbour.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, A.J. Nicholson made the disclosure while responding to questions posed by Opposition Senator, Bruce Golding at Friday’s (Oct. 31) sitting of the Senate in Gordon House.
Senator Nicholson said that any assistance given would be made on “humanitarian grounds”, as there was inconclusive scientific evidence to link the dredging to reduced fish catches in the Kingston Harbour.
He informed the Senate however, that the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture had conducted a study, which indicated that there was a loss of income to fisher folk operating in the Kingston Harbour for the period in which dredging of the harbour was carried out.
The study, he said, showed that approximately 900 fisher folk were affected out of a total of 2,635 registered fishers and that each fisher lost an estimated $13,330 per month over a six-month period.
“The Fisheries Division was subsequently a part of a meeting held with various agencies to resolve the issue of claims by the fisher folk for compensation. From these consultations, it was requested by the Port Authority of Jamaica, that scientific evidence be provided before the question of compensation could be adequately addressed. The National Environmental Planning Agency (NEPA) was charged with this responsibility,” Senator Nicholson informed.
Senator Golding questioned why the Port Port Authority had asked for scientific proof, when the Fisheries Division’s study showed that 900 fishermen were affected by the dredging.
He also reminded the Senate, that the Ministry of Land and Environment, had indicated that the fishermen would have been compensated for their loss.
Senator Nicholson responded that he was not aware of such as assurance from the Land and Environment Ministry and promised that he would look into the matter.

JIS Social