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Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., is encouraging women across the island to pursue careers in the Fisheries sector.

The Minister’s appeal comes in light of the Government’s drive towards improving the economic potential and operations of the industry.

Addressing a JIS ‘Think Tank’ today (March 8), Minister Charles Jr. extended International Women’s Day greetings to the women who contribute to building the Fisheries sector in Jamaica.

“Happy International Women’s Day to all of our women, particularly to women working in agriculture and fisheries. I believe that fisheries presents the greatest opportunity for sustainable growth within the sector. I would encourage our young people and our women to get more involved, as fisheries presents many opportunities,” the Minister said.

“The Government will be moving towards a drive to rehabilitate some of the fishponds to make sure that we can expand the amount of ponds that we have across the country… to unlock more of its potential,” he added.

There are more than 200,000 Jamaicans who work in the Fisheries subsector.

In the meantime, Minister Charles Jr. reiterated the Government’s commitment to safeguarding the island’s food security, through strengthening areas that hold the greatest potential to help improve Jamaica’s self-sufficiency.

“I believe food security is at greatest risk at a time when the challenges create the greatest opportunities for us to strengthen the framework that will allow for our policies to be met and our objectives to be exceeded, the Minister said.

“The vision of the policy around the fisheries sector is to ensure the optimal contribution of the fisheries subsector to the economy, food security, poverty alleviation, and livelihoods through the management and sustainable development of Fisheries and Aquaculture,” Mr. Charles Jr. added.

With sustainability a critical aspect of the vision for the Fisheries sector, the Minister explained how policy will guide the effort.

“The policy that we have is geared towards ensuring sustainable development and management conservation of fisheries in Jamaica. It also promotes greater efficiency and improvement in terms of competitiveness of the enterprises and stakeholders, while promoting the economic and social development of fishers and fishing communities,” he said.

The National Fisheries and Aquaculture policy (2015) also focuses on strengthening local, regional and international partnerships. These will be necessary to ensure transparency and accountability of the governance structure in the subsector.

This policy provides a governance framework in terms of the sustainable management and development of the sector. There are eight thematic areas that are pervasive in the Fisheries Act, which emanates from those policies,” he said.

The eight thematic areas include the management of marine and inland capture fisheries; monitoring, control and surveillance; occupational health and safety; and the promotion of aquaculture.

The remaining four areas focus on hygienic standards, processing, marketing and trade of fish and fish products; disaster risk management and climate change; economic and social development of the fisheries sector; and governance and institutional development.

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