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New Policies To Thrust Aquaculture Development


JAMAICA - Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Robert Montague, has reaffirmed the Government's push to ensure the survival of the aquaculture sub-sector through the introduction of new policies.

Among them are the development of a national fisheries policy, which embraces the principles and tenets of the Common Fisheries Policy, including the ecosystems approach to fisheries and aquaculture development management; and the preparation of modern fisheries legislation that provides a contemporary framework for the regulation of the sector and its sub-sectors.

Both the policy and supporting legislation are in the final stages of preparation, Mr Montague told the gathering of regional stakeholders, at the opening of the CARICOM/Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM)/Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Second Regional Workshop on Aquaculture Development Planning at the Four Seasons Hotel in Kingston.

He also mentioned the establishment of an Agricultural Development Fund, and a Fisheries Management Development Fund, both of which are being used to finance projects that benefit the sustainable development of the fisheries sector, and the modernisation of the Fisheries Division.

Of coursethere is the need for targeted research to deal with critical production issues that face the aquaculture sub-sector, the promotion and marketing of aquaculture products especially tilapia, improvement in training and support to farmers in terms of targeted extension services, Mr Montague said.

He stated that the Ministry will continue to work with fish farmers in the thrust to fill a percentage of the market share created by the increasing demand for fish products.

He said the Government recognises the important role that aquaculture plays in terms of food security, particularly as the country is faced with the problem of declining fish stock.

A 2010 survey by the Fisheries Divisions indicated that 147 active fish farms contributed some 4,183.9 metric tonnes of aquaculture products to the agricultural sector, with the sub-sectors production for the year valued at $12.1 million. Aquaculture supports direct and indirect employment of more than 40,000 persons.

The workshop falls under the CARICOM/CRFM/JICA Study on the Formulation of a Master Plan on Sustainable Use of Fisheries Resources for Coastal Community Development in the Caribbean. The project, which is funded by JICA under the CARICOM/Japan Cooperation Agreement addresses: pelagic resource development and management; aquaculture development policy formulation; regional fisheries database development; support for community-based management; and education and training in the component fields in CARICOM states.

The first regional workshop was held from 12 - 14 March, 2011 in Jamaica, where participants reviewed and finalised the draft plans for sustainable aquaculture development for the participating member states. These findings are being presented at the second workshop.