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Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator A.J. Nicholson, has outlined a range of measures aimed at resuscitating the local fishing industry, chief among which is the creation of a New Fisheries Act.
Speaking in a debate on the state of the fishing industry in the Senate on May 25, Senator Nicholson said that the Chief Parliamentary Council was drafting a new Fisheries Act that would address fisheries governance, as well as increased fines for illegal fishing.
“It provides a comprehensive legislative framework for good fisheries governance. Among other things, the new fisheries Act will address trade in fish products and modern enforcement mechanisms to allow for community participation in fisheries management,” he explained.
“The Act also looks at addressing the issue of Aquaculture development, and this will be a first for Jamaica,” Senator Nicholson added.
He emphasised that the government was committed to having this legislation passed in this financial year, to coincide with the conversion of the Fisheries Division into an Executive Agency. He added that this conversion should take place by July 1.
Senator Nicholson also informed that the government has developed a National Fishing Policy, which is aimed at “providing a framework to improve fisheries governance, and to foster social and economic development in rural and marginalised communities.”
He pointed out that the Fisheries Division has implemented three projects designed to foster rural and inner city urban development, by empowering young men and women through their involvement in income earning aquaculture activities.
The Senator cited the Inner City Ornamental Fish Production Project, the Lobster Casita Project and Oyster Culture Project as some of the initiatives being used to assist in the development of the fishing industry in the inner city communities.
As for other actions, Senator Nicholson said that the Fisheries Division would be developing a promotional campaign for the Jamaican oyster, to establish a consistent market supply and to develop related value-added products such as oyster sauce and oyster punch.
The debate on the state of the fishing industry was brought to the Senate through a motion introduced by Opposition Senator, Christopher Tufton.
Senator Tufton’s motion called for significant State intervention to improve the sector.

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