JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, on Wednesday (December 16), signed letters of intent with six Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) for the management of the island’s fish sanctuaries.
The NGOs are: Bluefield’s Bay Fishermen’s Friendly Society; Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation; Montego Bay Marine Park Trust; Negril Environment Protection Trust; Sandals Foundation; and the Nature Conservancy.
Under the agreement, the NGOs will be responsible for monitoring, control and surveillance activities, while the government will provide funding to assist with expenses.
In his remarks at the signing ceremony held at the Belmont Fishing Beach in Westmoreland, Minister Tufton said that the establishment of the fish sanctuaries is aimed at protecting the fishing sector and preserving the livelihood of the country’s fisher folk.He informed that legislation is being prepared to ensure sustainable fishing.
“As it stands now, I am told that the document (draft legislation) is at the Attorney General’s Office. It has finally passed through the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, and I anticipate that we should be able to table that document before the end of the Parliamentary year,” he stated.
He informed that all critical stakeholders have already been sufficiently sensitised, which will ensure a smooth passage of the bill, and make the enforcement and compliance a collaborative effort.
Assistant Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative, Dr. Gillian Smith, expressed support for the collaborative effort between the Government and NGOs to ensure the sustainability of the fisheries sector.
“These fish sanctuaries speak to the heart of our mandate, which is food security and protection of livelihood,” she noted further.
Fish sanctuaries are no-fishing zones reserved for fish to spawn, rear young or rest. No fishing of any kind is permitted in the sanctuary. Cabinet, in 2008, approved the establishment of eight such sanctuaries in seven critical areas across the island, to complement the existing two at Bogue Island Lagoon in Montego Bay, St. James, and Bowden Inner Harbour in St. Thomas.
The eight, which came on stream this year, are at Orange Bay, Hanover; Bluefields Bay, Westmoreland; Galleon, St. Elizabeth; Salt Harbour, Clarendon; parts of Galleon Harbour, and Three Bays Area in Old Harbour, St. Catherine; Montego Bay Marine Park, St. James; and Discovery Bay, St. Ann.

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