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Jamaica supports blue transformation in the Caribbean region

By Twila Wheelan

KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Minister of agriculture, fisheries and mining, Floyd Green, has reiterated his continued support for the implementation of the Blue Transformation approach in the Caribbean region.

Blue Transformation proposes sustainable aquaculture production, effective fisheries management, and improved value chains.

Minister Green, who was speaking on March 19 at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) four-day regional conference, in Guyana, said priority must be given to diversifying the livelihoods of small-scale fishers and fish farmers.

“It is the only thing that can be done to reduce overfishing and support ecosystem management efforts throughout the region. In Jamaica, we are implementing a fisheries development programme that has two components – the promotion of community-based climate resilience and the modernisation of licensing and registration systems,” the minister added: “As such, we are using the technology to develop what we call Irie Fins, a Jamaican fisheries aquaculture information system where our fishers, fish farmers and vessels can register using their mobile devices.”

Highlighting the strategies being used in Jamaica to increase yields in aquaculture and encourage diversity among artisanal fishers, the minister added:

“We are driving the development of our first Aquaculture Agro Park to really drive production across aquaculture. We are looking at our community-based climate resilience models to promote diversification of the income component of our fisheries development programme. We are also helping our small artisanal fisheries to diversify to go into sea moss production, ecotourism and ornamental fish development,” the minister argued. “Priority must be given to the diversification of the livelihood of small fishers and fish farmers. This is the only thing that can be done to reduce the occurrence of overfishing and to support ecosystem management efforts across the region.”

This Ministerial Roundtable focused on the urgent matter of ‘advancing fisheries and aquaculture towards sustainability under the Blue Transformation approach.’

The hybrid conference is being held within the framework of the 38th FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean from March 18 to 21. The event accommodated ministers, vice ministers, and authorities from Dominica, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Minister Green, who also chairs the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission, said the implementation of effective strategies is critical to tackling Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, commented:

“There can be no blue transformation if we don’t tackle IUU fishing, including continuing to strengthen intraregional fisheries management systems at national subregional and intraregional levels.”

To strengthen existing efforts, the minister also called for the FAO to support the development and improvement of legislation and policies, including those that relate to the control and surveillance to combat IUU fishing.

“It is critical that we develop intraregional systems on traceability. We must cut out the market on illegal fishing, which poses a serious threat to sustainability, safety and national security,” Green said.

With 85 million people depending on aquatic foods for their livelihoods, these resources are vital to Latin America and the Caribbean’s social, economic, and nutritional well-being.

Blue Transformation is an approach aimed at redefining the region’s relationship with aquatic foods and proposes a vision of sustainable aquaculture production, effective fisheries management, and improved value chains. The goal is to achieve more equitable, resilient, and sustainable food systems.



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