OCHO RIOS — Facilities at the Salem fishing beach in St. Ann have been upgraded, with the fisher folk anticipating "brighter days" in their business.
The $4.6 million project, which resulted in the construction of a fish vending and handling facility, was officially opened by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, on April 6.
“I feel pleased about what has taken place here because for the past years we have been calling for something like this and it has finally come to us, so I am very happy,” Fisherman, Foiley Green told JIS News.
He said that young persons without a skill or trade could always come to the location and learn the art of fishing, so they too can earn a living.
Another fisherman, Ivan Henry told JIS News that he too was feeling proud of the accomplishments at the Salem Fishing Beach.
“I have been fishing at this particular beach for five years and I must say that I truly appreciate the work that was carried out here. I am grateful to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and all others who have helped to make this happen, and we will do all we can to take the best care of it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister said that the official opening of the upgraded beach is indeed a milestone, and urged users of the facility to protect it.
“You (the fishermen) are going to be here every day, so you have to protect it…and put a process of management in place to ensure that the facility is properly managed. The fisheries officers have instructions to work with you, to get you registered and to organise your association,” Dr. Tufton said.
Some 30 fishing beaches have been earmarked for rehabilitation under the Fishing Beach Programme of Assistance. The Government of Jamaica, the European Union and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will fund these projects.
The Government will undertake the improvement of 19 of these fishing beaches located in 11 parishes across the island, while the European Union will finance six, and CIDA, a further six.
The National Irrigation Commission Limited, Rural Water Supply Limited and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries have entered a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of these fishing beaches.
Calabash Bay, Great Bay, Rae Town, Greenwich Town, Hope Bay and Rio Nuevo beaches have been rehabilitated, with Alligator Pond substantially completed.
Other beaches slated for priority attention are: Lances Bay, Belmont, Manchioneal, Port Morant, Morant Bay and Old Jail Lane (St. Ann).
By ALDEEN CAMPBELL, JIS Reporter