Agriculture minister to place more focus on fisheries

Friday, May 04, 2018

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Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw says he will be placing more focus on fisheries during this fiscal year, with the hope of increasing the nation's earnings from the sector.

Making his contribution to the sectoral debate in the House Tuesday, Shaw said in addition to focusing on the development of this sector, he will also be focusing on the enactment of the Fisheries Bill, given that growth in this area will stem from this Bill.

“In the case of the Fisheries Bill, I have to emphasise that after languishing for over 20 years, I had the honour of commencing the debate in this House on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, and we look forward to having this Bill enacted soon,” Shaw said.

He pointed out that the World Bank has predicted that the entire sea economy could generate US$3 trillion annually.

“That is why our fisheries sector will come in for sharp focus. This Government will leverage our Blue Economy (which refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of marine and coastal ecosystems). What this means, is that we will be looking to more stringently protect and monitor the assets of our waters,” Shaw said.

He added that he will be embarking on an active programme in the next three years to ensure that the fishing industry reaps from the Blue Economy.

The active programme, Shaw said, will include plans such as fish sanctuaries, providing a system of production assistance to Jamaica's small artisanal fishermen, assisting with the necessities of the trade and boosting fish farmers' production.

The minister said he will also be focusing on making the fishing industry sustainable in the long run.

“Let me stress that we will not seek to enhance production at the expense of the sustainability of our industry. I am, therefore, putting those who trade in the product on warning, that while we improve and bolster the industry, sustainability is paramount,” he said.

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