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LETTER OF THE DAY - Fishing sector may drown

Published:Tuesday | May 29, 2012 | 12:00 AM


Tax imposed on fish? It is time the Government put fun and joke aside. I believe in taxes, but this has gone way overboard.

Reading Arthur Hall's article published in The Sunday Gleaner of May 27, 2012, he quoted Mr Brian Jardim, head of Rainforest Seafoods, as saying: "The plant that we are building on Slipe Road in Kingston is being designed to buy from local fishermen and to supply the export market and the hotels, but this GCT is a major disincentive." I strongly agree.

The taxation of fish will greatly affect the local fishing industry and the livelihood of many individuals.

The local fishing industry is highly populated by men and women from small fishing communities in which fishing has for ages been the foundation of their livelihood. On the other hand, poultry being sold in our neighbourhood grocery stores hails from the production line of the more lucrative, mass-production, high-tech coops owned by the main distributors of this meat kind.

Fish, just like chicken, is rich in protein and is a very important food group for a healthy diet. But with the taxation of fish, that industry is going to face a major decline, as the cheaper meat will be the people's choice. The fishing industry is already struggling.

Again I quote Mr Jardim: "But the small tilapia farmer, who is already uncompetitive and struggling to survive, will be caught by this 16.5 per cent GCT."

Now the local fishermen and women will have to sit aside as they tug their nets and lines while they watch the large poultry companies flourish even more than before and expand their incubators.

The Government needs to rethink this taxation and remember those who have to struggle out to sea in high tides and rainy nights to make a living.


Black River, St Elizabeth