Jamaica gets boundary markers to protect fish sanctuaries
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (third left), holds one of several boundary markers for fish sanctuaries, funded by the Bank at a cost of US$7,500. They were handed over to Jamaica on September 29, at the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM), in Salt River, Clarendon. Others pictured (from left) are Senior Operations Manager at the Bank, Karlene Collette Ledgister; Senior Environmental Specialist with the Bank, Maja Murisic; Executive Director of C-CAM, Ingrid Parchment, and Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Courtney Cole. (Photo: Adrian Walker)

Jamaica’s fish sanctuaries are to be afforded greater protection, after the handover of several boundary markers, funded by the World Bank at a cost of US$7,500.

The markers were formally presented to Jamaica on September 29, at the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation in Salt River, Clarendon.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr, who accepted the markers from Senior Environmental Specialist with the World Bank, Maja Murisic, said they have come at a “very important” time, when the Government’s agenda is high on food security, and is actively advancing the country’s “capacity to be food secured”.

“We are advancing economic growth through the protection of our environment and natural resources, and the income and livelihoods of our fishers and fish farmers are dependent on good fishing and farming practices,” Charles Jr told the audience.

The sanctuary markers are funded by the World Bank under the Promoting Community-Based klClimate Resilience in the Fisheries Sector Project, being implemented by the National Fisheries Authority (NFA). They will be used to support and strengthen the NFA’s enforcement efforts.

“While we strengthen the fisheries policy and regulatory framework, we also recognise that it is important to develop guidelines and protocols for promoting sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices, taking into consideration climate impacts on fishery and aquaculture production,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that across the region marine resources are declining due to natural impacts and from activities of persons in the sector. He said there must be a ramping up of efforts to decrease poaching, and to regulate local fishers, so that the fish stocks remain stable.

Charles Jr said this will ensure that their practices are sustainable with positive long-term effects, and the markers will play a great role.

“More specifically, they will impact illegal, unreported and unregulatory fishing practices within the coastal areas. They will also identify the positions of the protected areas and will also assist enforcement personnel, as they will visually show the enforcement team from any vantage point in a protected area if someone is in breach. Importantly, it will show fishermen where not to fish,” he said.

For her part, Senior Operations Manager at the World Bank, Karlene Collette Ledgister, said the donation of the markers is a “good example” of how the institution is supporting and strengthening the “framework for food security”. She cited the decline of fish stock from climate change, overfishing and pollution, with severe impact on the livelihoods of individuals.

“Sustainable fishing practices are of paramount importance to increase the fish stock,” she emphasised.

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