By Twila Wheelan
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – The National Fisheries Authority (NFA) has reiterated its commitment to developing the island’s Aquaculture sector.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on October 13, director of corporate services at the NFA, Angela Patterson, said the thrust towards tilapia development is a critical part of the Authority’s efforts.
“Aquaculture has so much potential for growth and development. We are seeking to develop the production of shrimp, oysters and sea moss or Irish moss as we call it here in Jamaica. There is a huge development towards the aquaculture industry, because the sea product is declining,” she argued.
Patterson said the Authority is also working to replenish the blue protein supply from the sea.
“We are not leaving that area of our business to remain in decline. So far, we have 17 fish sanctuaries across the island, and in our strategic planning session that we have just concluded is a plan to significantly increase the existence of fish sanctuaries… over the next three years. It will be a significant increase, as this is a major part of the strategy for replenishment and maintenance of the sustainability of the fish,” she said.
The NFA, which was created out of the Fisheries Act of 2018, aims to manage, regulate and sustain the Fisheries industry in Jamaica.
Meanwhile, Patterson is urging members of the public to avoid breaking the law by fishing in fish sanctuaries, which are areas where fishing is prohibited.
“The sanctuaries are extremely important because that’s what we are hoping to use to encourage the replenishment of the fish, that there will be something for our children and grandchildren to enjoy for years to come,” she said .
“It is against the law to fish in a fish sanctuary. The sanctuaries were established in different areas across Jamaica, because this is where our observation and testing reveal that the growth and population of fish in that area has declined. We must leave the fish to reproduce and to be able to sustain itself,” Patterson added.