Jamaica News: Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says passage of the proposed new Fisheries Act remains a priority for the Government, in keeping with plans to institute the necessary framework to more effectively regulate the sector.
The new legislation is expected to replace the Fisheries Act of 1976, and Mr. Shaw has indicated that the Administration will seek to continue “earnest” implementation of the supporting legislative and institutional framework.
“This Bill will not only provide the legal provision to facilitate sustainable fisheries management and development, but will also establish the Fisheries Authority that will transform the (Fisheries) Division into an entity that will be better staffed and resourced to serve the fisheries and aquaculture subsectors,” he explained.
The Minister was speaking during the International Fisherman’s Day Conference at the Cardiff Hotel and Spa, Runaway Bay, St. Ann on Friday (June 29).
Mr. Shaw said the Government is looking to maximize the fisheries industry’s potential to contribute to Jamaica’s economic growth.
To this end, he said several key areas will be explored to see how best these can be leveraged to facilitate the sector’s advancement through a programme being targeted for implementation over the next three years.
“We must get to (the) point of a modern and coordinated fishing industry that will help us to achieve our aspiration for wealth creation and economic growth,” he said.
The Minister argued, however, that for the industry to contribute to economic growth, stakeholders must be willing to evolve and adapt, adding that the new legislation will assist in facilitating that.
Mr. Shaw said focus, in this regard, will also be placed on two supporting fisheries projects during the current fiscal year.
These are a World Bank-funded community-based development project aimed at strengthening stakeholders’ resilience, and an Inter- American Development Bank-financed initiative through which the turnaround time for issuing fishing licenses will be improved to one week, while facilitating an express delivery service component.
“All Jamaicans have a role to play in safeguarding our marine ecosystem including our coral reefs. But do not let it escape you that every single one of you must be a part of this process. All hands must be on deck or it will prove almost impossible or that much harder to achieve our goals,” Mr. Shaw emphasized.
Meanwhile, the Minister is encouraging stakeholder compliance with the sector’s governing regulations.
He said the fisher folk and other stakeholders also have a role to play in supporting the Government’s engagements, adding that “the safety and sustainability of our industry depend on all of us”.
The International Fisherman’s Day Conference was held in observance of Fisherman’s Day 2018 under the theme: ‘Securing Sustainable Fisheries- Impact of Crime’.
Source: JIS News