Minister of State for Agriculture, Labour, and Social Security, Luther Buchanan, made the disclosure at a seminar held on January 21 at the Medallion Hall Hotel in St. Andrew, which looked at 20 years of cooperation between Japan and CARICOM.
Fish trimmings refer to the waste from the processing of fish and include cuttings, heads, spines and guts. They can be used in the manufacture of health food supplements and cosmetics.
“As part of the value-added components to the fishing industry, where we gut fish daily, and trimmings are thrown by and large to waste, we see partnership from Japan, to explore if there are pharmaceutical benefits to be derived from the hundreds of kilograms of trimmings in the fishing industry,” Mr Buchanan said.
The State Minister, in his presentation, noted the importance of the fisheries industry to the economy, noting that it contributes some 0.4 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and also accounts for eight per cent of all agricultural exports.
He said the Government, as part of its growth strategy, is pursuing initiatives aimed at developing the sector and increasing the production of both marine and aquaculture fisheries.
He said vast opportunities exist in the sector for investment, noting that there is “great demand” for fish products.
“The fishing industry is an important (sector), but there is room for vast improvement to meet both local consumption demands, and to expand the export sector,” Mr Buchanan outlined, while expressing confidence that the sector will grow.
“As we look to the future, we do so buoyed with confidence that people will apply the attitude necessary to complement the Government’s strides for improvement and growth in the sector. The Ministry has every intention of growing the fisheries sector,” he said.
Minister Buchannan also lauded the contribution of the Japanese to Jamaica’s fisheries sector, describing that country as a “very strong partner in our development initiatives.”
He cited several areas of training and infrastructure development programmes that Japan has undertaken over the past year, to strengthen the capacity of the fisheries industry.