Jamaica to serve as hub for Blue Justice Initiative in the Caribbean
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Pearnel Charles Jr will lead the Jamaican delegation departing the island on Tuesday, March 21 for Copenhagen, Denmark, to attend the Blue Justice Conference and to launch the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub (BJCH).

This conference is especially important as Jamaica has been selected as the first country in the world designated as a regional hub and will take the lead role in the coordination of the Blue Justice Initiative (BJI) in the Caribbean. This effort is in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Blue Resilience programme.

Since 1980, Jamaica's fishing sector has lost an estimated US$300 million to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Where Jamaica resides in the Caribbean space, it is heavily impacted by incidents of crimes associated with the marine sector, such as smuggling of contraband, piracy, labour abuses and other infractions.

Charles Jr has asserted that "It is expected that the hub will foster harmonised legal and policy reforms to enable us to maximise the benefits to all countries within the community. Further, we hope to be able to effectively mitigate the high incidence of poaching and vessel transits which often use fishing as a guise for carrying out illegal and illicit activities."

The BJI regional hub will serve as a nexus for active information exchange, communication, and cooperation in dealing with crime in the marine fisheries sector, communications advisor to the minister of agriculture & fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr, between countries in the region who support the International Declaration against Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry.

This facility will provide capacity support to member states towards fostering inter-agency cooperation in and between countries to address crime in the sector.

Following the enactment of fisheries legislation in 2019, Jamaica has been empowered to broaden its scope to fight IUU fishing through strategic enforcement. This includes landing, transporting, storage, processing, transhipment, refuelling activities contingent to fishing. The Government of Jamaica remains steadfast in its resolve to eradicate incidents of IUU fishing, and will continue to establish smart methods to mitigate the recurrence of these crimes.

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