Government Implementing Laws to Support Jamaica’s Blue Economy

Minister of Transport and Mining, Robert Montague

KINGSTON, Jamaica,
Friday March 1, 2019
– Minister of Transport and Mining, Robert
Montague says the Government is implementing legislative measures aimed at
supporting a sustainable Blue Economy as a key driver of economic growth.

He cited the recent passage of the Ballast Water Management
Convention Act, aimed at preventing ships entering Jamaica’s waters from
introducing foreign aquatic species and diseases into the marine environment;
the Fisheries Act to reduce overfishing and unregulated fishing practices; and
the Petrojam Bill, which will enable necessary improvements to the oil refinery
in order to meet International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards for 2020.

He was speaking at the High Level Symposium for Transport
Ministers of the Caribbean Region on Wednesday.

The Blue Economy refers to the utilisation of the ocean resources
for economic benefits, while ensuring the future health or productivity of
those same resources. It includes tourism; shipping; commercial fishing;
activities in the oil, gas, minerals and mining industries; among others.

With over 90 per cent of Jamaica’s trade conducted by sea, Montague
said the Government recognises the importance of the Blue Economy in spurring
economic growth and development.

In addition, 61 per cent of the population lives in communities
within five kilometres of the coast, and the island’s two major cities,
Kingston and Montego Bay, as well as 10 of Jamaica’s 14 parish capitals, are
all located along the coast.

“For Jamaica, the ocean is an invaluable resource that is full of
potential for economic growth and job creation. In most cases, the ocean spaces
over which we have jurisdiction are many times larger than the land mass of the
countries. In Jamaica’s case, the exclusive economic zone is 23 times our land
mass,” Montague pointed out.

The Minister noted that one of the objectives of Vision 2030:
Jamaica’s national development plan, is the sustainable management and use of
marine resources.

“One of the major institutional reforms to manage the sustainable
use of these resources has been the establishment of the National Council on
Ocean and Coastal Zone Management. It’s a subcommittee of Cabinet tasked with
formulating and coordinating maritime sector policies and promoting public
awareness of the importance of the maritime resources to sustainable
development,” he noted.

Minister Montague also pointed to support given to the premier
university in the region, the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), which treats
with marine matters and the Blue Economy.

The meeting of Caribbean Transport Ministers sought to examine and
find solutions to the challenges faced by States in ensuring the preservation
of the marine environment on which they are heavily dependent.

It also identified strategies to assist countries in meeting their obligations under the IMO Instruments to which they are party, particularly those relating to marine environmental protection, and liability and compensation.

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