JIS News

With a view to making the fishing industry in Jamaica a sustainable entity, and also to protect the welfare of fishermen across the island, the Government is moving to enact new fisheries legislation to replace the 1976 Fisheries Act.
According to Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, the new fisheries legislation should be tabled in Parliament before the end of the parliamentary year. He said he has already reviewed the draft legislation, and is giving his commitment to meet that time frame.
He was addressing the 30th Annual General Meeting of the Gilling’s Gully Fishermen’s Cooperative, held at the Culloden Vocational Training Centre, in Whitehouse, Westmoreland on Thursday, July 24, 2008.
Pointing out that the discussions surrounding the piece of legislation has been ongoing for quite sometime, Minister Tufton expressed the view that on completion it should be very comprehensive.
“It speaks to a framework of engagement that is going to ensure that we have sustainable fishing. It will have some restrictions, it will address issues such as mesh size, it will speak to closed season for certain types of fish, it is going to speak to things that are undermining or affecting negatively the fishing sector now,” he stated. He outlined that matters such as the use of dynamite, bleach, spear fishing in certain areas and the establishing of fish sanctuaries are issues that will be covered under the new legislation.
The Agriculture Minister said that his intention is to ensure that the fishing sector can survive well beyond his generation, and to make that happen certain steps will have to be taken.
He said that before the new legislation is tabled one final round of discussions will be carried out across the island, to give persons an opportunity to understand the basics of it, and its implications.
Disclosing to the fishermen at the Annual General Meeting that they will be a critical aspect of the successful implementation of the new legislation and the processes that will follow, he pointed to the fact that other countries have tried similar strategies to revive their fishing industry, and it has worked for them. He mentioned Belize as a case in point, explaining that it took that country a period of three years for the success of measures implemented to protect its fishing industry to be seen and fully appreciated.