Belize City, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 (CRFM)—Heads of national fisheries authorities from 17 Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will be meeting with observers and partner agencies in Jamaica near the end of this week, for the 15th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the primary technical deliberative body of the CRFM, for talks on the status of and recent trends in the fisheries and aquaculture in the region and plans for the future to strengthen the sector.
Ahead of the opening the hurricane season in June, the Forum meeting—slated for Thursday, 30 March, and Friday, 31 March, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in Kingston, Jamaica—will also address measures for adaptation to climate change and disaster risk management in fisheries.
CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, said: “Climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and disaster risk management are major challenges facing the fisheries sector and the wider economies of our countries. These issues continue to be high priorities for policy-makers and stakeholders because we need to improve capacity, information base and policy, and institutional arrangements to respond to these threats and protect our future. At this meeting, we will be discussing the USA sponsored initiative to provide risk insurance for fishers, among other initiatives to improve and protect the fisheries sector and ensure food security.”
The Forum will also discuss steps to strengthen cooperation and coordination between fisheries and environment departments, as well as partner organizations, in order to strengthen the conservation of marine species and critical habitats to achieve international biodiversity targets.
Haughton notes that, “Working together to improve the health of the marine environment and protection of vulnerable marine species while improving sanitary and phyto-sanitary systems and quality of fish and seafood, will produce tangible social and economic benefits for fishers and fishing communities. It is time for stakeholders in the fisheries and environment sectors to start working in a more cooperative and constructive manner to address common challenges.”
The Forum will be updated on the progress of technical activities being undertaken by the CRFM, its Secretariat, Member States and network partners, after which it will prepare recommendations on the way forward to be tabled when Ministers responsible for fisheries meet on 19 May in Guyana.
Outgoing chairman, Denzil Roberts, Chief Fisheries Officer of Guyana, will demit office after his 12-month tenure. Participants in the upcoming Fisheries Forum will elect a new chair, vice-chair and executive committee members, who will serve for the programme year, 2017-2018.
|Total Marine Fish Production
Total Tilapia Production
|Total Fish Production||11,946.87||10,345.18||12,484.13||9,639.52||11,327.84||14,337.65||8,404.67||13,695.52|
Fishery for Opsitonema oglinum, (Atlantic thread herring, locally known as sprat), Harengula jaguana (Scaled sardine) and Harengula humeralis (Red-ear sardine, locally known as pinchers). Opistonema oglinum is the most heavily sought after species in this fishery. Bait fish caught in this fishery (eg. Harengulids and Engraulids), caught by trammel and lift nets is very important as it supports the artisanal offshore (line) fishery and the recreational fishery.
This fishery is generally for fish living over coral reef area. Areas where these fishes can be found: Rosalind Bank, Pedro bank, North Coast, South Coast, Morant Bank, other offshore banks and Alice Shoal. The coral reef finfish account for the largest catch category in Jamaica fisheries. The vast majority (98%) of the catch remains in Jamaica for either local or tourist consumption.
The Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) is widely distributed in the coastal waters and the offshore banks around Jamaica. Catch of spiny lobster comes mainly from the Pedro Bank (60%). Lobster is a high priced resource and represents an important component of the total value of the landings of the Jamaican commercial fisheries. Its’ production supports a local market (mainly the hospitality industry) and an export market. The export market earns an average of US$4-6 million per year.
The shrimp fishery of Jamaica is of significant economic importance, especially in the Kingston Harbour. The licensing and registration system of the Fisheries Division (LRS) records 44 boats (motorized and non-motorized) and 153 fishermen that fish for shrimp.
Hunts Bay is the major landing site in Jamaica. All the shrimp vessels in Kingston (Greenwich Town, Hunts Bay, Port Henderson, Hellshire and Port Royal) fish in Kingston Harbour and land their catch at Hunts Bay
The Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) fishery is the most valuable foreign exchange fishery in Jamaica. This resource is exploited on the island shelf and offshore banks. The predominant fishery occurs on the Pedro Bank. At present it is estimated that up to 95% of the conch landed in Jamaica originates from the Pedro Bank. However, small amounts are also fished from the Formigas Bank and Morant Banks. The amount of conch landed from the island shelf is so far not quantified but may be significant.
The two most targeted species are Lutjanus vivanus (silk snapper) and Etelis oculatus (queen snapper locally called satin).
The deepslope fishing areas within Jamaican waters is relatively small. Catches from the deep slope represent approximately 10% of total annual catch of marine fish. The fishery needs to be better studied. There is also need for increased awareness among fishers of the vulnerability of the stock and the potential for over-fishing.
This fishery is a small fishery accessed mainly with mechanized boats. This fishery is also used for tournaments and other sport fishing related activities.