Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says direct government support is coming to local fisherfolk to help them mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
Speaking at the recent launch of the ‘Promoting Community-Based Climate Resilience in the Fisheries Sector’ project, held in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, Mr. Green cited the additional $1 billion in budgetary support to the Ministry, noting that some of that money will be used to directly aid fisherfolk who have had their livelihoods threatened by the ongoing pandemic.
“What has happened with COVID-19 is that there has been a downturn in the market. Clearly, our export market has been closed, our tourism market is barely opening back up, and so there is a significant amount of excess fish without the requisite demand now to move it. The income that would normally come in to our fishers has, therefore, been significantly depleted,” Mr. Green explained.
“Thankfully, I know that action is coming. There will be direct intervention in relation to our fisheries [sector]. We know that you are in need of things like wires and nets, and we are definitely going to be providing some support,” he added.
The State Minister emphasised the importance of the fisherfolk and the fisheries sector in building the Jamaican economy.
“In 2018, a new Fisheries Act finally came to fruition, and that Act was critical because for a long time we have been saying we need an agency or entity to drive the sector forward as you have for years,” said Mr. Green.
“I am happy that we now have a National Fisheries Authority (NFA), an entity dedicated and empowered with the requisite skillset and powers to act on behalf of fishers and to drive our fisheries sector forward,” he added.
More than 40,000 stakeholders in the local fisheries sector are expected to be impacted by the ‘Promoting Community-Based Climate Resilience in the Fisheries Sector’ project, which is being implemented by the Ministry.
The initiative is being funded by the World Bank at a cost of US$4.875 million.