JIS News

Government will shortly be introducing a new policy framework to more efficiently regulate the country’s fishing industry and protect marine resources.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, made the disclosure at a ceremony at Beaches Bascobel Resort and Spa, St. Mary, on Friday (October 9), to announce the establishment of two marine sanctuaries at the location by the Sandals Foundation.
The sanctuaries will be established through close co-operation between the Sandals Foundation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Dr. Tufton said the new policy will be articulated by legislation which will replace the old Fisheries Act of 1975. He said that the legislative framework will be completed before the end of the current fiscal year, and will speak to the practices which deal with the fishing industry’s sustainability.
Noting that the legislation will aim at changing the behaviour and attitude of Jamaicans toward the fishing industry and marine resources, the Agriculture Minister said the protection it will provide for marine sanctuaries will bring enormous benefits to the country.
Asserting that his Ministry will be establishing eight new fish sanctuaries across the country, in addition to two already existing in Montego Bay St. James and St. Thomas, Dr. Tufton said the decision by the Sandals Group to establish such areas, is an indication that the society is gradually appreciating the importance of protecting marine resources.
Pointing out that Government will be working closely with fisherfolk to encourage them to co-operate with the requirements of the new legislation, he said it will bring changes to the practice of using the mechanical spear gun for fishing, and will introduce new specifications in respect of the size of the mesh used for the construction of the fish nets.
Stating that he will be having regular consultations with fisherfolk in the areas where sanctuaries are to be established in order to solicit their support for that initiative, Dr. Tufton said the policing and formal enforcement of the requirements of the new Fisheries Act will be assisted by a number of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs).
Also addressing the function was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sandals Foundation Adam Stewart, who lauded the Ministry for the support it has given to his organisation’s effort to establish the sanctuaries, and described the initiative as a partnership between Government and the private sector.

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