Fishing can be more than a side hustle, says head of fishers group is a sustainable skill and we feed people, so it's always going to be needed.

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Chairman of the Montego Bay Fishermen's Cooperative Society Richard Bowen wants to see more youngsters and women take up fishing as a career.

"The older guys are dying off and we need them to come and take it up," Bowen told the Jamaica Observer recently.

He conceded that the profession may appear unattractive because of the associated risks and relatively low return on investment.

"We have a lot of youths here; they fish and they go out but they don't see it as a business. They see it as a hustle, a way to survive, instead of looking at it in a long-term business sense like how the bigger [companies such as] Rainforest and them would do it," added Bowen even as he admitted that the spiralling price of gas and the net used to make fish pots make it a costly career.

"It's expensive, especially now with the cost of living. The nets were like $13,000 a year ago for a roll; now it's $20,000 and more," he explained.

Bowen argued however that fishing, if done properly, can provide a livelihood.

"Fishing is a sustainable skill and we feed people, so it's always going to be [needed]. A lot of people look down on it but if you do it in the right way [it can provide an income]. A lot of these guys send their children to college by fishing," he remarked.

Bowen urged anyone interested in the profession to do as he did and get hands-on training.

"There are a lot of fisherfolk who need hands sometimes; the older guys need somebody to go to sea. So, they can gather experience from fellow fisherfolk — that's how the knowledge is mainly shared here, other than going to do a course in captaincy. Regular fishermen, they go out together. That's how I learnt," he said.

Fisherman Floyd Thomas holding a big catch at the Alligator Pond fishing village in Manchester.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy