MANDEVILLE — Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, is reminding fisherfolk to observe safety requirements, as too many families are left grieving when fishers disappear on the high seas.
Addressing a church service at the St. Peter’s Anglican Church, in Pedro Plains, St. Elizabeth, on June 19, to mark International Fishermen’s Day, to be observed on June 29, Dr. Tufton said the fishing profession is one that the Ministry wants to be sustainable and safe.
“We lose too many of our fishers, because many times they fail to observe the safety requirements when they embark on fishing expeditions. I urge you to protect yourselves, to work with us at the Ministry, as we continue to put measures in place to sustain the sector,” the Minister told the audience.
The Ministry has stepped up efforts to protect the lobster industry by training inspectors to positively detect undersized lobsters, and since April, in conjunction with the marine police, they have seized approximately 8,200 pounds or 3,720 kilogrammes of lobster.
Other measures geared at preserving the fishing industry include the formation of an aquaculture advisory group; the establishment of nine additional fish sanctuaries; the enactment of new regulations for spiny lobsters; the conch export Act; and regulation to increase the mesh wire size for nets to ½ inch. “All of these initiatives are intended to recognise and to support our fishermen in this country,” the Minister said.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), of the United Nations has designated June 29 each year as International Fishermen’s Day, with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries encouraging communities to organise their own local events to keep awareness going on how to protect and sustain the fishing industry.
There are some 187 fishing beaches in Jamaica, providing about 120,000 primary and secondary jobs.
By GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS Reporter