Green calls for more global support to protect local conch industry Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining Minister, Floyd Green, is calling for continued collaboration with the international community to strengthen Jamaica’s fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Green said such illegal activities have affected the fisheries sector, especially the conch industry, which employs some 9,000 persons directly and indirectly. 

“The international community has to work with us to ensure that when conch is traded, it can be traced, and we need our international partners to tighten their systems so we can put an end to illegal fishing,” declared Green during the recent Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification ceremony for the conch industry last week at AC Mariott Hotel in New Kingston.

The call by Green comes against the background of Jamaica’s conch industry attaining an historic MSC certification under the Compete Caribbean Project.

The certification covers the Industrial Dive Fishery located in the Pedro Bank, the first of its kind for a conch fishery in the world, making Jamaica a trailblazer on the world stage.

Green said the certification will affirm the Jamaican conch’s sustainability, and reduce the risk of overfishing.

“In our conch fisheries industry, we are the first and only conch wild fishery capture in the world to be MSC-certified,” Green informed.

He said the certification also indicates that Jamaica has “a robust harvest strategy”, while control measures are in place to ensure sustainability. 

“Our certification also says that we have a conch fisheries that has a low impact on our ecosystem at the Pedro Bank, and that we have effective management systems in place to embrace participatory fisheries management in its approach,” said Green.

The landmark certification now advances the Jamaica Queen Conch, and came from work done through the Conch Cluster of Jamaica (CCOJ), Jamaica’s first public-private sector wild-caught fishery cluster, which was established through the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility under its ‘Blue Economy Project’.

Green underscored that the Queen Conch fishery is one of Jamaica’s most important commercial fisheries, providing direct employment for an estimated 2,000 persons (fishers and fish processors), as well as indirectly to about 7,000 persons.

With an average family size of five persons, the multiplier effect of employment in the conch industry, though seasonal, is high, the minister stated.

To that end, Green stressed the need for the international community to partner with Jamaica to further protect the industry.