JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Conch exporters have been granted permission to pay the levy for the 2016 season in instalments.
  • Through passage of the Conch (Export Levy) (Special Provisions) Act revival resolution in the House of Representatives recently, exporters will be allowed to complete payment within three months of the date of submission of the application for an export health certificate and export licence for each consignment of conch.
  • Since the 2009 conch season, a levy has been imposed on each pound of conch exported from Jamaica.

Conch exporters have been granted permission to pay the levy for the 2016 season in instalments.

Through passage of the Conch (Export Levy) (Special Provisions) Act revival resolution in the House of Representatives recently, exporters will be allowed to complete payment within three months of the date of submission of the application for an export health certificate and export licence for each consignment of conch.

Presenting the resolution, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, informed that the exporters have made representation to the Ministry indicating that they face significant financial challenges.

He said some of the challenges resulted from increased production costs as well as investment cost in maintaining their European Union accreditation.

“This has resulted in a struggle for the exporters in growing market share in the extremely competitive European Union conch market. The exporters have expressed a continued willingness to pay the requisite levies, but they seek deferment of the payment in relation to the expiration of the conch harvesting for the 2016 conch season, which is not permissible under the Act,” he said.

He pointed out that the levy on each pound of conch exported has been reduced from US$0.75 to US$0.50, which will allow the exporters to expand their businesses and further develop the industry.

Supporting the resolution, Opposition Spokesperson on Agriculture, Derrick Kellier, said the fisheries sector is crucial to Jamaica’s economic development. He also raised concerns about poachers in Jamaica’s waters.

In response, Mr. Samuda said the Ministry has sought to introduce, along with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), the use of drones to police the waters.

“In addition to that, what we will be seeking to do for the next season, is to open the season early, so that applications can be in, and the boats can go to sea immediately,” he said.

Exporters will be required to make all outstanding payments within the three-month period.

The Conch (Export Levy) Act imposes a duty on the export of conch to facilitate the sustainable management and development of the fisheries sector.

The duty is used, in part, to offset the cost of implementing programmes for monitoring, control, surveillance and enforcement in relation to Jamaica’s limited conch resources.

Since the 2009 conch season, a levy has been imposed on each pound of conch exported from Jamaica.