JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, on Friday (February 13) reopened the Calabash and Great Bays fishing facilities in St. Elizabeth, which were done at a cost of over $10 million.
Work on the projects included upgrading of gear sheds, installation of security grille, installation of electrical wires and meter box, to facilitate reconnection of electricity which was out for four years, and installing external lights to improve visibility and security on the beaches at nights as navigation aids for fishers.
Addressing the reopening ceremony at the Great Bay Cultural Centre, Dr. Tufton said that, over the years, fishers were placed lowest on the priority list, in terms of resource allocation and policy formulation, but that he is committed to changing that and rebuilding the sector.
“We are committed to giving the fisheries sector the kind of attention that it deserves: too many fishers are lost at sea, because they are ill prepared. We are going to improve the communication technology and help to provide communication equipment, so that if a fisher gets into trouble at sea, he can call for help,” he said.
The Minister said that new legislation for the development of the sector was on its way, but reminded fishers that they have a responsibility to see to their own safety, as persons in other professions would.
“Moving the sector forward requires modern legislation, and when the new (Fisheries) Act comes into place, enforcements on how you enter the sea will be strict. But, the fishers must play an important role in protecting what you have, in order to protect your trade and the future of the sector,” he said.
Speaking of the nine fishing sanctuaries to be established across the island, one of which will be in Galleon, St. Elizabeth, the Minister urged fishers not to fish in them.
“The fishing sanctuary is a no fishing area – a no fishing zone that allows the fish to multiply, to expand. These areas were identified, in conjunction with fishermen, as good places to replenish the fish stock, and anyone caught fishing there will be jailed for doing so,” he declared.
The repair and upgrading work at the Great Bay facility cost $7 million, while that at Calabash Bay cost $3 million.

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