U.S. Embassy Supports Jamaica’s Fisheries

The U.S. Embassy has partnered with the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Port Royal Marine Lab (PRML) on a one-year sustainable fisheries education project.  Thousands of Jamaicans depend on fishing for their livelihood, but practices such as overfishing and misuse of equipment can negatively affect fish stocks.  The project, funded through a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, sets out to mitigate these effects and build the capacity of artisanal fishers in the Kingston Harbor area.  PRML has been working since September 2017 in the Kingston Harbor fishing villages at Greenwich Town, Rae Town, Hunt’s Bay, Rockfort, and Port Royal to assess existing fishing activities, promote sustainable fishing practices, increase awareness of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and increase the numbers of licensed fishers.

Through this project, PRML will host five sustainable fishing workshops in Port Royal between April 23-27, welcoming fishers from a different fishing village each day.  The workshops will feature presenters from UWI; the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries (MICAF); the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard, and the Jamaica Constabulary Force Marine Division.  Presenters will sensitize attendees on subjects including catch techniques, use of nets and other equipment, marine safety, maritime law enforcement, and licensing and registration processes.  MICAF Fisheries Division and Registrar General’s Department officials will also be on hand to facilitate license and birth certificate issuance to fishers who lack those essential documents that enable access to services and routine business transactions.

The Embassy hopes this partnership with PRML will bolster resource sustainability and food security locally while fostering collaboration between fishers, researchers, and the government that could serve as a model for other localities in Jamaica and across the Caribbean.

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