JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, launched the anticipated fish wire project, which imposes a new minimum size for the mesh wire used in fish pots, on Friday July 23.
The new minimum size of one and a half inch mesh wire, replaces the one and a quarter inch mesh wire being used in the construction of fish pots. The move increases the minimum size of the fishes which can be caught and keeps out immature fishes, contributing to the sustainability of the island’s fish resources.
Addressing the launch at the Calabash Bay Fishing Beach, which was recently refurbished at a cost of $4 million, Dr. Tufton explained that the smaller mesh wire was the standard global practice and a much more sustainable method of catching fish.
“It will only take from the sea fish of a certain size and that would exclude the fish that we want to stay in the sea and get a little bigger,” the Minister said.
He added that while the move might not be popular with fishers, it will bring rewards to all persons who earn their living from the industry.
“It is to ensure that this fishing beach, and others around the country, will have fisherfolk who are not just surviving on the margin of society, but fishers who can one day generate wealth for themselves and become more comfortable in their community, because they are earning more,” Dr. Tufton stated.
The pilot project targets fishers from three parishes – St. Elizabeth, St. James and St. Thomas. Four hundred and fifty fishers were selected for the programme, each of whom will be given a roll of 1.5 inch mesh wire.
“I am proud of the fishers who are participating in this programme, because what you are effectively doing is pioneering a more consistent and sustainable fishing practice. You are the leaders in that regard,” Dr. Tufton told the audience.
The rehabilitation work done at the Calabash Fishing Beach was sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and saw the construction of sanitary facilities for some 450 male and female fisherfolk who use the beach.
It also included the building of sewage treatment systems, installation of electricity and other conveniences for hygienic and efficient operations, which were previously dilapidated or nonexistent.

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