The Ministry of Agriculture is putting more measures in place to regulate the aquaculture and fisheries industry in order to easily facilitate the export of farm-bred fish and fish products.
According to a press release collaboration between the Department of Fisheries, the ministry and the European Union have been ongoing to examine the standards and quality of seafood to be exported to Europe.
In an address to mark Fisherfolks’ Day, Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud said that the fisheries sector is an important contributor to food security and the economy as it provides 15,000 jobs directly related to the industry.
It is also a source of income for the rural population.
He said over the past five years the sector has shown positive growth, contributing 14.6% to the total agriculture sector in 2010, an increase of 6.6% in 2009. Employment in the fisheries and aquaculture sector has also grown substantially in the last three decades, with an average rate of increase of 3.6% since 1980.
However, the industry is grappling with instituting regulations in a sustainable manner in order to reduce the pressure on fish stocks globally, along with the combined impact of a global food price crisis and financial crash and economic recession.
According to the release most of the stocks of the top ten species which account for about 30% of the world marine capture fisheries production are fully exploited.
Recognising the need for sustainability of the sector, government has crafted a number of interventions within the Low Carbon Development Strategy to minimise the impact of climate change on local fishery resources and to support sustainable fishing. Organi-sations such as the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mec-hanism and the Japan International Cooperation Agency are also assisting the Department to boost its Statistical Data Collection System in this endeavour.