JIS News

The final round of stakeholder consultations on the National Fisheries Policy, began earlier this month and will be concluded by the end of October, in order that the document maybe tabled by year end for implementation in 2009.
The document will form the framework for the re-vitalisation of the fisheries sector.
Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, pointed out in his contribution to the 2008/09 sectoral presentation earlier this year, that the fisheries sector had declined although it was a significant employer of persons in rural Jamaica. This he attributed to “poor infrastructure, artisanal methods, national disasters, over-fishing and unsustainable practices.”
The Minister said he was therefore embarking on a “comprehensive programme for the sustainable development of the fisheries sector and completion of the new Fisheries Policy was therefore a priority.” The National Fisheries Policy addresses three main areas: the sustainable production from capture fisheries, which refers to products harvested from natural habitats and aquaculture – farmed fisheries – to supply the domestic consumption; increased returns from export of high value seafood and processed fish products; and safeguarding the sustainability of domestic fisheries by appropriate regulation of fishing and aquaculture activities.
To support sustainable production, the Fisheries Division reports that nine fish sanctuaries have been identified, which is four more than the five originally announced.
“Fishing will not be allowed in these areas which will be closely monitored and regulations fully enforced. Fish sanctuaries are necessary to provide safe breeding havens for the fish and to protect critical habitats such as coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds in order that natural replenishing of stocks may occur,” Acting Director of the Marine Branch at the Fisheries Division, Ian Jones advised.
Thirty beaches have also been earmarked for development to improve infrastructure and boost output. Sanitary facilities are to be installed at these beaches, as well as fish handling and vending facilities, storage for fish and fishing equipment, covered vending areas and bio-degradable disposal systems for gutted and scaled waste. Tender bids for construction of these facilities are now being evaluated in order that a suitable contractor maybe identified.
Public consultations began in 2003 as a means of finalising the National Fisheries Policy. More than 1,600 persons participated, representing all fishers, fish farmers and other stakeholders, which the Fisheries Division says was the most extensive consultation ever within the fisheries sector. It reflected the participatory approach to fisheries governance being employed by the Fisheries Division.