In 1949, when the Fisheries Division has been actively engaged in the
development and promotion of the Jamaican fishing industry by provision
of training and technical advice to fishermen, conducting exploratory
fishing to test the potential of fishing grounds, provision of easy
credit for outboard motors, duty-free outboard motor fuel, encouragement
of fishermen's organisations such as cooperative societies, provision
of outboard motor fuel outlets, gear stores, sanitary conveniences and
lighting on beaches, and by the preparation and execution of schemes
aimed at increasing the quantity of fish landed in Jamaica.
This Division is also responsible for the inland or fresh-water fisheries, and has been encouraging the cultivation of fish in ponds, tanks and marshes by provision of fingerlings and advice on pond management. Through this programme of fish-farming and the stocking of rivers and irrigation canals with fish, previously useless land has been put to more productive use, and a major source of cheap animal protein has been provided. This has had a significant effect on improving the diet of the people in several parishes of Jamaica, particularly St. Catherine, St. Elizabeth, Clarendon and Westmoreland. Since the 1980s, the inland fishing industry has developed to the extent that the import of fish for the tourist industry has been reduced. Up to the present, the inland fishing industry has shown an average of 4% annual growth.
In relation to the marine fisheries, the programmes carried out by the Government have produced results. Because of the training and advice given to fishermen, the fishing industry has extended its limits in that Jamaican fishermen are now able to fish at distances of up to 480 kilometres (300 miles) away from Jamaica, whereas 25 years ago they fished barely 16 kilometres (10 miles) away from shore. Today, fishermen are using synthetic materials for making their boats and equipment, polythene rope has almost completely replaced Cayman rope among trap and pot fishermen, nylon and monofilament netting is increasingly taking over from cotton netting. As it becomes more difficult to obtain the cotton and guango trees from which canoes were traditionally made, more and more canoes made of fibreglass are appearing on our beaches. As a result of Government assistance in obtaining credit, our fleet of large decked vessels grew in numbers and the fishing industry flourished. In recent years, however, the industry has been experiencing difficulties as a result of a reduced stock of fish and competition from foreign vessels fishing in Jamaican waters.
In : Jamaica