The National Fisheries Authority (NFA) will be developing a National Assessment Programme to determine the diversity and abundance of specific marine resources.
This was announced by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, during his 2021/22 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on May 12.
“As we strive towards food security, it is critical that we assess our fin fish stock levels. It is a fact that if we are not careful, we can lose our most bountiful resource,” he said.
The Minister added that he has observed the decline in stock levels and the negative impact of overfishing. Amongst the species, he highlighted that the parrotfish plays a critical role in protecting Jamaica’s coral reefs.
The programme will include reef fish surveys, inclusive of parrotfish and other important herbivores.
“These surveys will provide data that will aid in determining the diversity and abundance of these species and will facilitate the implementation of an ecosystem-based approach for sustainable management of this fishery,” the Minister noted.
The NFA will start consultation this year towards promulgating regulations that will seek to establish minimum size limits on the catch for all reef fish species, including the parrotfish.
“The Ministry will be introducing regulations to govern and restrict the use of beach seines and trawl nets,” Minister Green said.
Meanwhile, the NFA will develop guidelines for the proper construction of these nets, including where and how these nets can be used in a responsible and sustainable manner.