KINGSTON, Jamaica - The National Fisheries Authority (NFA) will complete the establishment of an offshore radio communication system for fishers and other navigators in Jamaica’s waters, later this year.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Franklin Witter, said that the system is intended to improve communication between fishers, especially on small vessels, and the mainland.
“Fishers are aware that cellphones are very difficult out at sea and pose a lot of challenges. Therefore, our small vessels need improved communication. This will allow all fishers from anywhere, [such as] the Pedro Banks, to contact the relevant authorities in case of an emergency or their fellow colleagues to improve business operations,” Witter said.
He noted, further, that the system will allow for improved border security and help to weed out malpractices such as illegal fishing.
The state minister was speaking during a graduation ceremony for an inaugural safety-at-sea training programme on Thursday, September 29 at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).
A total of 35 fishers across the country were trained in navigation and seamanship, under a memorandum of understanding between the NFA and the CMU, with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
During the graduation ceremony, the fishers were also presented with safety gear and communication devices, for which they have expressed immense gratitude.