Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Local and foreign investors urged to invest in canned tuna

Published:Wednesday | August 29, 2018 | 12:00 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Canned tuna

WESTERN BUREAU:

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Audley Shaw is urging local and foreign investors to launch out into what he has described as the "blue economy" and invest in canned tuna for the export market, which he said is valued at approximately US$400 billion in the Western Hemisphere.

According to Shaw, there is a grand opportunity to fish the wider ocean area to tap into the blue economy, which has the potential to be quite lucrative to both investors and the country.

"You have the tunas and swordfish that are swimming past Jamaica. They are coming from the north, swimming past Jamaica in the deep water," said the minister. "We don't go for them, and guess what? The people from Trinidad are waiting for them down there when they come."

Shaw, who was speaking with reporters at Monday's Inter-American Accreditation Co-operation's (IAAC) 23rd General Assembly in Montego Bay, St James, said Jamaica has the potential to create a lucrative canned tuna industry.

"We need to get into the tuna, swordfish and other big fish industries and create our own canned tuna industry right here in Jamaica. We need to go into the deep sea because you have sea urchins, the Chinese want that; you have black eels, the Chinese want that," he stated.

"Jamaica is not accessing it. What we have been doing is fishing in the near-shore areas, and it's getting overfished by the way, even lobster and conch. There is evidence that the fishing of lobster and conch is going down a little bit because we are overfishing near shore."

Shaw further noted that, based on the possibilities, established fishing entities like Rainforest Seafoods and B&D Trawlers could play the lead role in this.