Thrust to improve fish farming
Technical support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has been critical in the improvement of yields for Jamaican fish farmers, a regional extension officer has said.
Kerrone Fairclough said that those partnerships have helped to maintain the viability of many businesses.
‘’The ministry support comes in the form of educating and training those involved in the business of fish-rearing, so even in how we deal with proper feeding, cleaning and preparation of the ponds forms part of the services that we offer and there are over 100 farmers in St Catherine, so it is a major part of our offering,” Fairclough said.
“We do realise, over time, that proper technical support equals to better yield.”
The regional extension officer made the comments during an agriculture ministry tour of McLish Aquaculture Farm in Spring Village, St Catherine, last Wednesday.
Agriculture and fisheries have been among the most resilient industries during the COVID-19 pandemic, with sustained growth spurts keeping farmers buoyant.
Stephen McLish, CEO of McLish Aquaculture Farm, said that he was able to net 5,000 pounds of fish from each one-acre pond in a matter of months.
“We sell at the pond for $400 per pound, so from the 10 ponds ideally, we can reap 50,000 ponds of fish. This can be reaped between four to nine months, as the feeding and maintenance of the ponds is crucial to the profit level on your investments,’’ McLish said.
The Gleaner understands that there are plans to place netting over the ponds to prevent birds from stealing the fish.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Pearnel Charles Jr, who toured the farm, said that fishing continued to be a vibrant component of the aquaculture. Charles assured that the agriculture ministry would maintain its technical support to farmers islandwide, enabling them to maximise their potential.
‘’The fishing aspect of the business is packed with potential where market availability is concerned. Therefore, we will have to be supportive of those who take time out to feed the nation with healthy protein and aiding overall food security,” Clarke said
“Then it must be supportive. So as a minister who has responsibility for the industry, we are here today at this farm to strengthen our support and partnership.”