Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon Audley Shaw (centre), updating the media on developments in the conch industry at a media briefing held at his Hope Gardens offices in St. Andrew on March 12, 2019. Others from left are Minister without Portfolio, Hon J.C. Hutchinson, and Minister of State, Hon Floyd Green.
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon Audley Shaw, today (March12, 2019) outlined several measures to curb illegal fishing in Jamaican waters at a media briefing on the conch industry at his Hope Gardens offices.
Outlining the reason for the extended March 1 2019 to January 31 2020 close season for the conch fishery, Minister Shaw said this was necessary because of the current depletion of Jamaica’s valuable queen conch stocks.
“The depletion of the conch fishery has resulted from several factors [and} we are certain that illegal fishing is a major cause, “the Minister said.
He added that the complex problem of illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing could not be solved at the local level alone, but required a comprehensive, multipronged strategy at the local, bilateral, regional and international levels.
With reference to foreign poachers in Jamaica’s fishing territory, Minister Shaw sounded the stern warning: “Stay out of Jamaican waters!” a message 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.
These vessels, Minister Shaw reported, had a total of 103,673 lbs. of different species of fishery, including queen conch, spiny lobster, sea cucumber, sharks, crabs, octopus and fin fish, with an estimated value of US$807,617.
Last week, the coast guard apprehended two illegal vessels from the Dominican Republic with queen conch, spiny lobster, crabs, fin fish and octopus.
PLEASE SEE THE FULL TEXT OF MINISTER SHAW’S SPEECH:
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