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Published:Saturday | October 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Westmoreland fisher folk receive donation

Fisher folk from the Bluefields Bay Fishermen's Friendly Society in Westmoreland were on Thursday presented with 50 rolls of mesh wire for the making of fish traps.

The donation forms part of a partnership agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and Caribsave Jamaica.

The presentation took place during a ceremony on the Bluefields Bay Beach in Westmoreland where minister of state in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and member of parliament for Eastern Westmoreland, Luther Buchanan, was guest speaker.

Buchanan said the donation comes against the background of a depletion of the fish stock in the protected areas, due mainly to the use of the wrong size mesh wire in the construction of fish traps.

He said: "As you are aware, one of the challenges we face as a country as it relates to fishing is the untenable situation of the depletion of our marine fish stock due to the overfishing on the reef. This is further aggravated by the use of the incorrect size mesh wires which results in harvesting of juvenile fish and lobsters and it can never be overemphasised ... the importance of sticking to the regulated size wire for the purposes of fishing".

Jamaica revising National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

Jamaica is in the process of revising and updating its National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

The plan will, among other things, produce measurable targets to safeguard or restore key ecosystem services, especially for water, health, and livelihoods.

A team from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is spearheading the revision of the programme to the tune of US$220,000.

The project, which is expected to last for one year, is being funded by the Global Environment Facility through the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Jamaica.

Biological diversity or biodiversity is the term used to describe the variety of life found on earth and all of the natural processes.

Biodiversity underpins ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services essential for human well-being. It provides for food security, human health, the provision of clean air and water; it contributes to local livelihoods and economic development.

Speaking at a workshop at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites in Kingston last Thursday, technical project manager, NEPA, Dione Chambers, said the update will be achieved through an extensive process of cross sectoral and multidisciplinary stakeholder engagement, and will be built on the framework set by a 2003 version of the plan.

New phase for sugar industry

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, said the local sugar industry is entering a new phase, as the current pricing arrangement with Tate and Lyle ends in 2015.

"This crop year is the final year of our contract with Tate and Lyle at a very significantly higher price than now obtains on the world market. There is already anxiety in terms of what will happen after the end of the current crop, because we have to enter into a new round of negotiations and many people are not optimistic in terms of where the price will fall," he said.

The permanent secretary was speaking at a field day, held at the Holland Sugar Estate in St Elizabeth, on October 16.

Stanberry said the time is right for players in the industry, in preparation for what happens in the next round of negotiations with Tate and Lyle, to get the industry operating in an efficient and productive manner.

"It's only the efficient (operators) that will survive, particularly if the (prices) get lower. The sugar industry has survived many storms and with all the uncertainties surrounding prices after 2015, we can only control what is in our power to control.

Former PM P.J. Patterson honoured by CHASE Fund

Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has been honoured by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, and Education (CHASE) Fund, for his role in establishing the Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence in Sports.

Patterson was presented with a special commemorative trophy by CHASE Fund chairman, Dr Carlton Davis, during the 10th Courtney Walsh Award presentation ceremony, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, on Thursday.

Making the presentation, Dr Davis cited Patterson's admiration for the former Jamaica and West Indies cricket legend and pace bowler, in whose honour the award is named.

"He admired the monumental performance of Courtney Walsh in getting 519 Test wickets ... most of them against teams with good batsmen. But he also admired Mr Walsh's sportsmanship ... and his demeanour and conduct, on and off the field. That is the context in which he made this proposal of the Courtney Walsh Award. I think it is deserving that CHASE should recognise Mr Patterson's contribution, in this regard," the chairman said.