(Jamaica Gleaner) The Agriculture Ministry says the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with China does not allow Chinese vessels or fishers to fish in Jamaican waters.
The declaration is in response to concerns raised by some environmentalists about the agreement.
In a statement yesterday morning, the ministry said the MOU, which was signed in September, deals specifically with hygiene, sanitation and certification matters to allow for co-operation between Jamaica and China on sanitary and phytosanitary issues in order to permit the export of Jamaican live lobsters to China.
The ministry says the MOU in no way allows Chinese vessels or fishers to fish in Jamaican waters.
The ministry says members of the local fishing industry have repeatedly appealed to the Government for assistance in accessing diverse markets, including China, for the export of their fishery products.
It says the government has been working closely with the Chinese government to allow for easier access of Jamaican live lobsters into the Chinese market.
The agriculture ministry says the signing of this MOU paves the way for duly licenced Jamaican fishery processing establishments to be able to export live lobsters to China.
It says the Ministry’s decision to assist fishermen with accessing this new market was taken with careful consideration for the sustainable management of the nation’s fisheries.