#MontegoBay, June 15, 2018 – Jamaica – Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says local fishermen should focus less on nearshore practices and instead take advantage of opportunities offered out in the deep ocean.
Addressing reporters at JAMPRO’s third staging of the Jamaica Investment Forum at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James, on June 13, Mr. Shaw said it is an acknowledged fact that the deep sea is an untapped area with enormous resources that Jamaica should attempt to utilise.
“The whole area of fish and seafood is on the horizon for us. It’s an exciting area that can even be better. It needs to be expanded beyond aquaculture and fish farming, which is more in the inland area,” he added.
Mr. Shaw said it is a global fact that “we don’t access enough of our deep sea resources”, resulting in billions of dollars being lost. He noted that a recent study done by a reputable international agency, titled the ‘Blue Economy’, shows that the deep sea is rich in potential and could easily make a positive impact on a country’s economy.
“The blue economy is about vast resources in the deep sea. We are overfishing in the nearshore waters, but we are not accessing deep-sea resources. Some of these resources include sea cucumbers and sea urchins, black eel and other things that are in great demand,” the Minister said.
Mr. Shaw pointed out that countries like China offer a ready-made market for these items, and that the tools will have to be found to assist fishermen and fisherfolk to capitalise on “what is now a very lucrative market”.
“All the sea cucumbers, urchins and black eel that can be accessed, they will pay a premium price for them in China. The key issue is for us now to get the appropriate deep-sea-fishing technology to be able to go and pursue those resources to the benefit of our country. This can also help to develop a vibrant export market for these unique products from the deep sea,” the Minister said.
The three day (June 12 to 14) forum is being hosted by JAMPRO under the theme: ‘Connect for Business’.