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Jamaican plan boosts efforts to keep fish industry afloat

Jamaica has unveiled new plans to promote research for fish farming and to contribute to the sustainable management of fisheries in the Caribbean.

The aquaculture development plan is to be implemented this year with an allocation of JMD$22million (almost US$250 000) according to Jamaica’s Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Roger Clarke.

Addressing a meeting this month at the Farmers’ Training Centre Clarke said an additional JMD$17 million (US$ 189 000) had been set aside to rehabilitate the hatchery facility at the centre’s aquaculture branch, to provide quality seed stock for the industry.

Clarke said the aquaculture development plan is supported by the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Fish II programme and is aimed at contributing to Jamaica’s goals of ensuring food security, employment creation, import substitution, and foreign exchange savings.

ACP Fish II is a four-and-a-half year, €30 million programme funded by the European Union through the European Development Fund (EDF).

Avery Smikle, director of the Aquaculture Branch at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Jamaica, said in The Washington PanAfrican news that extensive work had been done in the past five months to analyse areas targeted for aquaculture production.

Smikle said the study determined the best practices and opportunities for fresh water farming, oyster culture and mariculture.

Sandra Grant, regional programme manager for the Caribbean of the ACP Fish II Programme, said the programme hinged on ensuring the sustainable use of fisheries and the development of value-added activities.

Clarke said ensuring the continuous development of fish farmers and the reshaping of farming practices through training programmes is one of the strategies named to improve aquaculture.

The implementation of effective marketing and promotion strategies and the introduction of appropriate technology and fish varieties for production are also highlighted in the plan.