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Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, has given his commitment that changes to the law governing the fisheries sector will be brought to the House of Representatives during this Parliamentary year.

The fisheries bill will make the necessary legal provisions for the sustainable management of the sector, which engages some 30,000 Jamaicans.

Minister Clarke, who was making his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 8, also pledged to advance the modernisation of the Fisheries Division into an executive agency.

Giving an update on the situation at Pedro Cays, Mr. Clarke informed that up to the end of 2012, the Government had spent over $9.8 million to conduct garbage removal at the location.

“We have stepped up enforcement with the placement of two fisheries officers on the cays. They are working closely with the Marine Police and the JDF (Jamaica Defence Force) Coast Guard to enforce adherence to the fisheries licence regime on the cays,” he told the House.

Additionally, the Minister noted, a contract is being finalised with the University of the West Indies to undertake a carrying capacity study, to determine the number of people that the cays can support and the kind of sanitation infrastructure required.

“On the basis of this study, the Ministry will establish an appropriate licensing regime, notwithstanding our proactive stance in reducing the number and validity period of licences issued this year,” he said.

The Ministry will also contribute to the installation of the required infrastructure.

“It is imperative to state that the day-to-day management of the cays will have to be addressed through the formulation and execution of a multi-agency sustainable management regime,” the Minister said.

Contact: Alphea Saunders