Greater enforcement and monitoring to tackle overfishing - Charles Jr
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr, leads a discussion at the 18th Jamaica Stock Exchange Investment and Capital Markets Conference, on January 25, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. Photo: JIS

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Jamaicans should see an increase in enforcement and monitoring to curb the unethical practice of overfishing, this year, according to Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr.

He made the announcement during his presentation at the 18th Jamaica Stock Exchange Investment and Capital Markets Conference on January 25 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

The Minister informed that the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) is focused on expanding its cadre of staff to achieve increased vigilance.

Overfishing refers to the removal of a species of fish from a body of water faster than the rate at which the species can replenish its population naturally, resulting in the species becoming underpopulated in a particular area.

“The main ways to address that issue are to define fish sanctuaries, to extend training, and to have robust monitoring and enforcement, and we are doing all three,” the Minister emphasised.

Charles Jr said that there are currently 18 fish sanctuaries and that another two will be added, while also hinting at a “special announcement” of a “very skilled individual who will be assisting, particularly in terms of a focus in bringing investment and support for fish sanctuaries” within the next two months.

At the same time, the Minister continued his call for investments in the fisheries sector, pointing to its “enormous untapped potential”.

“Fisheries is a short-term, immediate opportunity…We need the skills and the investment, and we're calling for it right now,” Charles Jr said.

He noted, however, that while there are “a lot of opportunities”, these must be sought after with respect for the environment to be sustainable.

“So, we need to invite the kind of large, long-term investments from persons who understand that balance is required between the economic return and environmental sustainability, because climate change and the environment are directly [and] inextricably connected to agricultural resilience,” the Minister pointed out.

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