Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Leslie Campbell, says the Ministry has allocated a $67-million production incentive to the local fisheries sector as part of a coronavirus (COVID-19) strategic intervention.
Speaking at the launch of the ‘Promoting Community-Based Climate Resilience in the Fisheries Sector Project’ at the Treasure Beach Sports Park in St. Elizabeth on July 24, Mr. Campbell outlined that the incentive is aimed at mitigating the decline in local fish production over the past few months.
“Since April of this year, there has been a decline of the fisheries sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fish production moved from 1,098.39 metric tonnes in March to 730.39 metric tonnes in April,” Mr. Campbell pointed out.
“So, this [incentive] is for the provision of fingerlings, fish feed and fish equipment,” he added.
Mr. Campbell further noted that the stimulus is also for the procurement and the installation of 10 refrigerated containers at major fisheries facilities across the country.
“In addition, the National Fisheries Authority will provide seed funding valued at $15 million for the financing of new fisheries development projects,” said Mr. Campbell.
“These projects will facilitate the diversification of fisheries production, including the introduction of value-added fisheries products and services, targeting the export markets, and where possible, local substitution of imported fish products,” he added.
Mr. Campbell indicated that these intervention measures will greatly assist in recuperative efforts and boost economic activities for the sector.
He is also urging fisherfolk to partner with the local authorities by preserving the environment and adhering to the fishing guidelines.
“We cannot afford to be overfishing, especially as our fish stock represents your livelihood and sustenance for your families. In light of this, we have to redouble our efforts to engage fishers and conduct enforcement activities to stop irresponsible and unsustainable fishing practices in the industry,” Mr. Campbell stated.