JIS News

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, through its Fisheries Division, has commenced training of a second batch of ornamental fish growers under its Inner-City Ornamental Fish Production Project.
State Minister in the Ministry, Victor Cummings, told JIS News that the project aims to create employment and economic opportunities in inner-city areas, particularly for the youth, through backyard ornamental fish culture systems.
“The project has already started training the second batch of 17 participants at Twickenham Park, St. Catherine in the breeding and production of selected species of ornamental fish, and this will allow individuals to establish ornamental fish production as a small business enterprise,” he explained.
At the end of the six-week training period, the participants will each receive $50,000 from the Ministry, to assist them in setting up of their own ornamental fish facility, “plus, we will still provide technical assistance and monitoring,”Mr. Cummings said.
He informed that during training, participants were given a stipend to cover transportation costs and lunch.
According to the Agriculture State Minister, “ornamental fish enterprises can benefit the communities and Jamaica because the United States, which is the world’s largest importer of ornamental fish, can receive fish from Jamaica in as little as 12 hours. Singapore (a main US suppliers) takes two days to supply them”.
He noted further that the United States spent millions on imported ornamental fish and that the market for the product was huge, but Jamaica was satisfying less than one per cent of that market.
Encouraging the youth to tap into the ornamental fish market, he said, “this is another aspect of agriculture, which you can do from the comfort of your home and it does not involve soil”.
Training under the Inner-City Ornamental Fish Production Project began in May 2006, with participants graduating on June 22. In addition to the training now underway, two other sessions are scheduled for the rest of the year, with the next course to get underway in October.
While the project is slated to end this year, Mr. Cummings said that due to demand, it might be extended until December 2007.
Ornamental fish are pet fish kept for relaxation, decoration, therapy, business or as a hobby. Some of the ornamental fish being cultured are: angel, goldfish, koi, labyrinths (fighters, gourami), live bearers (molly, guppy, swordtails) and the very rare blue shark developed in Jamaica.
Persons interested in fish production, but do not have the large hectares of land or litres of water required for food fish, may opt for ornamental fish production.

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