JIS News

Persons are being warned not to fish in fish sanctuaries or they could face hefty fines ranging from $250,000 to $2,000,000.
Acting Director of the Marine Branch of the Fisheries Division, Ian Jones, speaking to JIS News during a tour of the Black River Bay fish sanctuary last week, said that previously, the fines were so low that some fishers preferred to break the rules and pay the fine.
“This can no longer happen with the new fines under the newly amended Fisheries Policy,” he stated.
He said that the sanctuaries would be clearly marked with buoys, and patrolled regularly, especially at night, to prevent illegal fishing.
The Black River Bay sanctuary, which occupies some 450 acres of sea space, is first of nine being established by the Ministry to preserve the country’s fishing stock and encourage more sustainability in the sector.
Some 600 fishers from Long Acre/Galleon Beach and surrounding communities are expected to benefit directly from the facility, with the number increasing to 2,000 to include families and other handlers along the supply chain.
According to Dr. Tufton, the sanctuaries, which “create breeding grounds for the replenishment of fish stocks,” would serve to address “dwindling stocks and imminent threats to the livelihood of those in the industry and food supplies for the country.”
He commended the communities for their active participation in the project, stating that, “such cooperation is fundamental to the success of these ventures as communities are primary beneficiaries as well as enforcers in preventing illegal fishing in the sanctuaries”.
Director of Fisheries, Andre Kong, explained that the sanctuaries were selected based on detailed research incorporating the ecological and species profiles of the particular area, as well as stakeholder interest. Also considered was the depth of the water and clear lines of visibility across the designated area for ease of surveillance.
Cabinet, in 2008, approved the establishment of nine fish sanctuaries in seven critical areas across the island, to complement the existing two sanctuaries at Bogue Island Lagoon in Montego Bay, St. James, and Bowden Inner Harbour in St. Thomas.
The others will be established within the Portland Bight between St. Catherine and Clarendon; Bluefields Bay, Westmoreland; Orange Bay, Hanover; Montego Bay, St. James; Discovery Bay, St. Ann, and Oracabessa Bay, St. Mary.

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