New Lobster Licensing Regime Takes Effect July

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • A new Lobster Licensing Regime has been developed to make the industry more transparent and investor friendly. This will become effective July 2017.
  • This is contained in a Ministry Paper tabled recently in the House of Representatives by Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda.
  • “The new regime has expanded the categories of lobster licence from two years to four years. These are Category A - Industrial Fishing; Category B - Artisanal Fishing; Category C - Carriers/Transportation of Lobsters; and Category D - Research and Scientific,” the document explains.

A new Lobster Licensing Regime has been developed to make the industry more transparent and investor friendly. This will become effective July 2017.

This is contained in a Ministry Paper tabled recently in the House of Representatives by Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda.

The new regime has been developed with the active participation of the various stakeholders within the Jamaica lobster industry.

According to the document, the new regime will encourage greater investment in the acquisition of more industrial fishing vessels, market development and greater research and development.

The Ministry Paper notes that the lobster licence will now be valid for a period of two years, and will allow for greater planning and investment.

Under the previous regime, the licence was only valid for one year and this made it difficult for any proper investment to be made in the industry.

“The new regime has expanded the categories of lobster licence from two years to four years. These are Category A – Industrial Fishing; Category B – Artisanal Fishing; Category C – Carriers/Transportation of Lobsters; and Category D – Research and Scientific,” the document explains.

There will also be an Advisory Committee in place to assist the Licensing Authority.

A systematic evaluation and selection criteria-based process has been developed, and will now be used in the granting of all future lobster licences. This will allow the process to be more transparent, objective and equitable.

The Minister Paper further states that there will be a clear schedule of procedure that will aid in reducing significantly, the waiting time for granting the various lobster licences.

“This will increase the scope for the vessels to be underway by the first of July. (Also) the new regime places a greater emphasis on tangible investment rather than the historical involvement of the applicant,” the document says.

It adds that it is expected this new lobster licensing regime will increase the number of licences, attract new investments, cause greater utilisation of the entire Pedro Bank, and increase additional jobs within the sector.

In 2014, based on data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, the fishing industry contributed $2.2 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP). Total exports amounted to 833.6 metric tonnes, valued at US$12.6 million in 2014.

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