Fishers urged to cease operations as Hurricane Beryl approaches

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

With Jamaica under a Hurricane Watch, the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) is urging fisherfolk to cease operations and for those on the cays to return to mainland.

A Hurricane Watch means the country could start experiencing rapidly deteriorating weather conditions within the next 48 hours.

NFA’s Fisheries Compliance Licensing and Statistics Division, Dr Zahra Oliphant, said fishers must pay close attention to the relevant authorities for updates.

“The Meteorological Service of Jamaica has indicated that the hurricane is on its way, and it is still forecasted to impact Jamaica significantly. As such, persons and fishers on the cays need to evacuate. At this time, persons should just be concerned with coming back to the mainland, securing their vessels and securing their property, because safety is of utmost importance,” she emphasised.

Dr Oliphant said that based on the forecast, Jamaicans should start feeling the effects of Hurricane Beryl on Tuesday evening.

“Fishers should not operate during the storm at all. They need to take this time to get themselves prepared to ensure that they have all that they need at their homes. This isn’t the time to do anything risky to try and go far out, hoping to come back in time before the storm. We are encouraging our fishers to exercise great wisdom and to heed the warning from the advisories coming out at this time,” she advised.

Dr Oliphant further urges fisherfolk living in low lying and flood-prone areas to relocate to nearby shelters.

“The ODPEM has released a list of shelters across the island. It is best for them to relocate to the nearest shelter and only take what is necessary, such as their relevant documents. Also, as best as possible, secure their own property using the traditional ways that we know how…. as per the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management’s (ODPEM) guidance,” she said.

The Met Service’s forecast track indicated that the centre of Beryl was expected to move across the Windward Islands on Monday morning, and the southeastern and central Caribbean Sea later in the day through Wednesday, when the hurricane nears Jamaica.