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JIS News

Executive Director of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), Fritz Pinnock, is urging local fishing interests to embark on more organised efforts to penetrate the more profitable Diamond Back Squid market in order to lessen the stress on shallow water fish species.
To further this initiative, the CMI, in collaboration with the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Jamaica will be offering training to fishermen towards the introduction of, and training of fishers in, deep water fishing. This will begin in January 2007, targeting fishers islandwide.
Speaking at a press conference at the Institute’s Palisadoes Park campus today (October 12), Mr. Pinnock said this was important to ensure sustained livelihoods in the local fishing industry.
Pointing to the demise of shallow water fishing, he said surveys have shown significant decreases in the number of fish caught by local fisher-folk and that the size of the fish were increasingly small due to the stress on the fish population.
“This has been attributed to the increase in the number of fisher folk, resulting in the shallow waters being over fished,” he said.
According to data from the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, between 1998 and 2006, some 2,000 additional individuals have obtained fishing licences, causing a concomitant decrease in the number of fish caught per month.
Mr. Pinnock told JIS News that as a counter to this, the Fisheries Division had decided that no new licences would be issued for shallow water fishing over the next five years. Following this hiatus, only one licence will be issued for every three retired fishers. This, he says, will assist in the restoration of resources in over-fished shallow water area on the continental shelf.
On the matter of establishing a sustainable local Diamond Back Squid supply for the local and international market, Mr. Pinnock noted that the local selling price of common fish species was a mere $60 per pound, while squid sushi material in the east coast of the United States was more than $600. This drive he said, would encourage local fishers to venture deeper at sea to enjoy a higher profit margin.
Furthermore, he said that as Jamaican squid was rated first grade in taste tests by squid-eating enthusiasts at a recent function at the Japanese Embassy in Kingston, it stood to reason that local squid could fetch an equal or higher price than U.S. squid.
Meanwhile, Senior Volunteer for JICA, Takahiko Yasuda said that in addition to work with the local fishing cooperatives to sensitize fishers about squid fishing, a cold chain, which is the practice of simple refrigeration, would also be established for all other types of fish as “this would improve the quality and freshness the fish.”