Jamaica News: Jamaica sent a clear message on Friday, March 22, 2019 to illegal fishers poaching in Jamaica’s fishing territory with the forfeiture of two fishing vessels and the criminal conviction of Dominican Republic fishermen, Limbert Valdemura and Manuel Martinez, in the Corporate Area Criminal Court.
Valdemura and Martinez are the captains of the two vessels manned by a 54-member crew of fishermen from the Dominican Republic, which were intercepted and seized by the Jamaican Defence Force Coast Guard on Saturday, March 9, 2019. The vessels bearing queen conch, spiny lobster, crabs, fin fish and octopus were confiscated by the authorities.
The hearing on Friday last (March 22) resulted in the forfeiture of the two fishing vessels, when, appearing before Senior Parish Judge His Honour Mr Vaughn Smith, the illegal fishers were charged under the Exclusive Economic Zone Act for exploration and exploitation of living and non-living things in the zone, as opposed to under the Fishing Industry Act because the illegal fishers were not caught in Jamaica’s territorial waters but inside Jamaica’s exclusive economic zone.
The conviction of the poachers and forfeiture of their vessels reinforces the warning issued by Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, the Hon Audley Shaw, recently to the perpetrators of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Jamaican waters.
Addressing a media briefing on the conch industry on March 12, Minister Shaw said, “The depletion of the conch fishery has resulted from several factors. We are certain that illegal fishing is a major cause.”
Shaw sounded the stern warning, “Stay out of Jamaican waters,” a message he said he intends to deliver at the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism Council of Ministers’ Meeting to be held in May in St Kitts.
Over the last nine years, from January 2011 to March 2019, 10 foreign fishing vessels were caught fishing illegally in Jamaican waters, an arrest rate which, anecdotally, reflects only 14% of the foreign IUU vessels operating in our waters, Minister Shaw, said as he outlined several initiatives to be addressed locally, regionally and internationally to curb Illegal fishing in Jamaican waters.
Source: JIS News