JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has assured that the Government is ready to provide full support to the fisheries sector, and urged fishers to register, as information on their activities is a necessary basis for planning and action.
Dr. Tufton was speaking at the final public consultation on the draft fisheries policy, which was held at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston on Wednesday, November 12.
He highlighted the importance of the quality and consistency of supplies of fish and fish products. “Consistency in supplies was the most frequent concern among end-users,” the Minister said, urging fishers to pay close attention to this.
The policy, which he said is slated to be tabled in Parliament before the end of this financial year, “will guide standards; improve data collection, infrastructure and knowledge of the marketplace for greater competitiveness.”
He further noted that the document “comes at the end of one of the most extensive processes of consultation out of which Jamaica’s first Fisheries Advisory Board has been formed. The Board, which comprises a multi-stakeholder contingent is helping to guide finalisation of the policy.”
Under the new policy initiatives as set out in the draft document, 30 fishing beaches have been slated for rehabilitation initially, and female fishers are to be incorporated into the plans for the sub-sector, while a $50 million loan facility is being made available for fishers.
“New regimes are also set for spiny lobsters and there will be no trading of lobsters in the closed season,” he stated, while explaining that often, harvesting is done during the close season and frozen and passed off as previously caught. Dr. Tufton also indicated that a tax is to be charged on conch exports.
Some concerns discussed at the consultation included loss of habitat, bio-diversity and over-fishing; increased production costs, and larceny of fish.
Director of the Fisheries Division, Andr