Fishers urged to cooperate with NFA vessel census team
THE National Fisheries Authority (NFA) is encouraging fishers across the island to cooperate with officials from the authority as the vessel census continues. The census aims to capture and update data related to the number of fishing vessels currently on the island.
Principal director, Fisheries Compliance, Licensing and Statistics Division at the NFA, Dr Zahra Oliphant, said that data from the vessel census will help with planning interventions for fishers.
“It helps us to get an accurate count of the number of fishing vessels that are operating in our space. We can know the kind of management that’s needed because of the vessels operating and the type of fishing they are doing, ” she said in a recent interview with JIS News.
She assured stakeholders that the NFA team is “not there to lock you up and they’re not there to tax you. The data collected will be used to inform the situation on the ground as it relates to our fishing sector. We need persons to understand that we are promoting this census and we want the cooperation of the fishing communities when the NFA team gets to your fishing beach,” she said.
“We really want the assistance of the community in giving us information and access. Some persons are sceptical because they don’t know why we’re counting, but what we want to make clear is that the census team is not out there to enforce,” she emphasised.
The census began in September and is expected to run until December.
Dr Oliphant told JIS News that another important objective of the NFA census is to document unserviceable vessels.
“That’s something that we need to be aware of. There are a lot of unserviceable vessels that are cluttering our fishing beaches and they attract water, breed mosquitoes and attract garbage. [Data from the census] can help to inform what kind of clean-up activity is needed and how we need to intervene in that,” she noted.
The NFA is responsible for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of Jamaica’s fisheries resources in a manner that ensures optimum social and economic benefits to the country.