JIS News

In the drive to attract more persons to the ornamental fish farming sector, the first National Ornamental Fish Exposition will be held at Jamaica College on Old Hope Road in Kingston from October 28 to 29.
The event was launched today (September 19), by the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, in conjunction with the Jamaica Ornamental Fish Farmers Association, at a press conference held at the Ministry on Old Hope Road in Kingston.
To be held under the theme: ‘Treasures Beneath the Water: Highlighting opportunities in the pet fish industry’, the exposition will highlight opportunities in the local pet fish industry, and international market.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Victor Cummings, who spoke at the launch, pointed out that the current value of the local ornamental fish trade is estimated at some US$1 million per year at the retail level.
“Over 94 pert cent of Jamaica’s production is sold on the local market, with 6 per cent exported primarily to the United States of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom,” the Minister noted.
He lamented that a study conducted as far back as 1998 showed that Jamaica represented less than 0.0095 per cent of the world’s trade in ornamental fish, and that this figure has not changed.The State Minister stressed that there were vast opportunities for Jamaica in the global fish trade.
The major markets for tropical ornamental fish are the United States of America, Japan and the European Union. The United States is the largest importer, accounting for some 25 per cent of the world’s share.
“Jamaica has several distinct attributes that enable us to tap into the export market of the United States. These include, proximity to the major distribution centre (Florida), availability of transportation, good quality water, relatively free from major diseases and good climate for raising fish all year round,” the State Minister informed.
He said the Ministry has recognized the vast potential of the ornamental fish sub-sector, not only for its export potential, but because it was a sustainable source of income that required minimal start-up capital.
The exposition, which is slated to get underway next month, will include activities such as a kiddies village, special fora and talks on several aspects of ornamental fish farming, ornamental fish and products, auctions and a wide selection of exhibitors with pets.
The exposition will be sponsored in part by the National Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank at a cost of $200,000.
“We encourage the public, especially our youths to be at Jamaica College, not only to gain an understanding of the ornamental fish production activities in Jamaica and the world at large, but more importantly, to gain insight on a worthwhile activity that may bring you closer to that elusive greater financial security,” said the State Minister.