Fisheries Officers Trained in Extension Services


The technical capabilities of a number of the island’s fisheries officers have been significantly enhanced, by their participation in a five-week extension training course at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Fisheries Division, Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston.
The course formed part of capacity building activities being implemented under the sustainable marine fisheries management component of the Improving Jamaica Agriculture Productivity Project (IJAPP). Just over 30 fisheries officers and instructors participated in the course. They are currently providing extension services to the over 40,000 fisherfolk.
The IJAPP is a three-year project, funded at a cost of just over C$5 million by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
In addition to sustainable marine fisheries management, the project is also focusing on expanding green house activities.
Project Manager, Mr. Peter Reid, told JIS News that the course was the second in a series of technical training programmes being executed for fisheries officers and fisherfolk, under the initiative focusing on safety at sea. Participants included personnel working with stakeholders at the six beaches earmarked for rehabilitation – Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine; Rocky Point, Clarendon; Black River and Calabash Bay, St. Elizabeth; and Negril and Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland.
Mr. Reid explained that the training courses were designed for implementation by Capacity Building Specialist with the programme, Mrs. Denise Erskine-Jones, after a needs analysis was conducted.
Key areas of focus include: public health, proper handling of fish and money management. Areas covered under the extension course included: communications; fisheries extension; the role of the extension officers; sociology; planning; and information dissemination.
Module components were executed by Research Fellow at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr. Joseph Lindsay.
“From the feedback that we are getting, they are well suited to go back and do their jobs, enhancing the fisherfolks’ livelihood and the methods that they use in the fishing industry and on the beaches. They will (now) go out and interact with them, and they will be better able to impart what they have been taught,” Mr. Reid advised.
Mrs. Erskine-Jones pointed out that her primary focus was to assist the fisherfolk operating from the six beach rehabilitation project areas, in their personal and vocational development “in a holistic way.”
“So that they can embark on a sustainability effort once the Canadians have completed their part of the project, which is to put up the money to rehabilitate the six beaches,” she explained.
Mrs. Erskine-Jones disclosed that there are five additional training courses to be undertaken, including the third scheduled for this month, which will focus on re-sensitisation of stakeholders to fisheries management.
She pointed out that the course modules, which will be imparted by UWI lecturer, Dr. Karl Aiken, will target the fisherfolk councils, which have been established in the six beach rehabilitation project areas. The remaining courses are scheduled to be executed later this year, into 2011.
Addressing graduates of the extension training course, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Dr. Marc Panton, highlighted their role within the sector in terms of educating stakeholders and the wider public.
“If we do not have the buy-in of the fishing community, if we are not able to convince them of the importance of the fish sanctuaries, the importance of why we are putting up gear sheds and really developing the environment within which they work, it really will (come) to (nothing). The buy-in, the maintenance, the development will rely on these folks who you interact with on a daily basis,” Dr. Panton said

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