JIS News

Thirty of the combined 187 fishing beaches and villages across the island have been earmarked for improvement work under a special programme being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture.
During his Budget debate presentation earlier this year, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, announced the commencement of a programme to identify the critical fishing beaches across the island, with a view to implementing an improvement project for them.
“We identified 30 of those beaches this year, and we are committing just over $100 million to put basic infrastructure on those beaches across the country”, Minister Tufton told Westmoreland fishermen, at the 30th Annual General Meeting of the Gillings Gully Fishermen’s Cooperative, held at the Culloden Vocational Training Centre in that parish on Thursday, July 24.
Pointing out that the 187 fishing beaches and villages across the island are of varying sizes, with some not even having the space for improvement infrastructure to be put in, the Agriculture Minister explained that every effort will be made to improve as many of them as is possible. He said that discussions are being held with the environment agencies, with a view to starting the improvement work on those facilities that are environmentally friendly.
Minister Tufton said that infrastructure such as sanitary conveniences, storage bins for tools and equipment, a processing area, a lounge area, and proper directional signs will be put in for the 30 selected areas.
“We are starting this year with 30 (beaches), next year we are going to put another amount, and we are going to continue that process until we get to a point where fishers across the country can feel comfortable and take pride in their environment,” he informed.
Dr. Tufton emphasized that while the Government will be facilitating the expenditure to boost the morale of the fishermen, that it will be their (fishermen) responsibility to take proper care of and to maintain these facilities. He encouraged the formation of organized groups for fishing beaches, to assist in the security and maintenance of the infrastructure that will be put in.
The Agriculture Minister said he has charged the officers from the Department of Fisheries, with the responsibility to identify the leadership on the respective beaches and assist them in getting organized. This, he said, will ensure that there is a structure in place to offer a self monitoring and management mechanism for the new and improved environment of the fishermen.