- Contribution to GDP: Overall percentage contribution to GDP by the agricultural sector was 7.3%, with fisheries contributing about 0.4% (ESSJ Report 2001).
- Fishing Area:
- The inshore fishery in the coastal waters of the main island, including nine proximal banks, usually subdivided into North Coast and South Coast.
- The fishery on the Pedro and Morant Banks.
- Deep-sea fishing, in all deep waters around the island and banks.
- The Jamaica/Colombia Joint Regime Area near Alice Shoal.
- Inland (riverine) areas, especially large river systems (e.g., Black River).
- Fishermen: The Marine Capture fishery of Jamaica had 15336 registered fishers as at the end of December 2004. Most of these are artisanal fishermen operating from open canoe or reinforced fiberglass plastic (RFP) type boats powered by either outboard motors or oars.
- Landing sites: 190 including two (2) on the Pedro Cayes and one (1) on Morant Caye (2004).
- Fish Imports:
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 Quantity (kg) 30,350,457 36,057,765 33,547,533 31,238,013 66,385,542 Value (J$) 2,191,342,690.00 2,214,864,814 2,733,551,666 2,798,298,434 3,378,890,984
- Fish Exports:
2000 2001 2002 2003 Quantity (kg) 997,510 1,582,149 605,999 936,306 Value (J$) 42,625,571 540,253,239 265,482,376 460,678,076
- Fish Processors: Minimum 10 (categorized as major or minor Fish Processors, based on the degree of processing).
- Exporters: Minimum 10.
- Vessel Categories: There were 4274 registered boats at the end of December 2004, operating in the industry, ranging from 3.6 to 9 m open canoe type boats (95%) to 15 M – 30 M decked vessel type (5 %).
- Fish Production from Landings
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Finfish
Total Marine Fish Production
Total Tilapia Production
Total Fish Production 11,946.87 10,345.18 12,484.13 9,639.52 11,327.84 14,337.65 8,404.67 13,695.52
Fisheries exploited in Jamaican Waters
SMALL COASTAL PELAGICS
Fishery for Opsitonema oglinum, (Atlantic thread herring, locally known as sprat), Harengula jaguana (Scaled sardine) and Harengula humeralis (Red-ear sardine, locally known as pinchers). Opistonema oglinum is the most heavily sought after species in this fishery. Bait fish caught in this fishery (eg. Harengulids and Engraulids), caught by trammel and lift nets is very important as it supports the artisanal offshore (line) fishery and the recreational fishery.
DEMERSAL AND REEF FISHERIES
Snappers, Parrot Fishes, Doctor Fishes
This fishery is generally for fish living over coral reef area. Areas where these fishes can be found: Rosalind Bank, Pedro bank, North Coast, South Coast, Morant Bank, other offshore banks and Alice Shoal. The coral reef finfish account for the largest catch category in Jamaica fisheries. The vast majority (98%) of the catch remains in Jamaica for either local or tourist consumption.
The Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) is widely distributed in the coastal waters and the offshore banks around Jamaica. Catch of spiny lobster comes mainly from the Pedro Bank (60%). Lobster is a high priced resource and represents an important component of the total value of the landings of the Jamaican commercial fisheries. Its’ production supports a local market (mainly the hospitality industry) and an export market. The export market earns an average of US$4-6 million per year.
White Shrimp (Penaeus schmitti)
The shrimp fishery of Jamaica is of significant economic importance, especially in the Kingston Harbour. The licensing and registration system of the Fisheries Division (LRS) records 44 boats (motorized and non-motorized) and 153 fishermen that fish for shrimp.
Hunts Bay is the major landing site in Jamaica. All the shrimp vessels in Kingston (Greenwich Town, Hunts Bay, Port Henderson, Hellshire and Port Royal) fish in Kingston Harbour and land their catch at Hunts Bay
The Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) fishery is the most valuable foreign exchange fishery in Jamaica. This resource is exploited on the island shelf and offshore banks. The predominant fishery occurs on the Pedro Bank. At present it is estimated that up to 95% of the conch landed in Jamaica originates from the Pedro Bank. However, small amounts are also fished from the Formigas Bank and Morant Banks. The amount of conch landed from the island shelf is so far not quantified but may be significant.
DEEP SLOPE FISHERY
Deep Slope, Snappers and Groupers
The two most targeted species are Lutjanus vivanus (silk snapper) and Etelis oculatus (queen snapper locally called satin).
The deepslope fishing areas within Jamaican waters is relatively small. Catches from the deep slope represent approximately 10% of total annual catch of marine fish. The fishery needs to be better studied. There is also need for increased awareness among fishers of the vulnerability of the stock and the potential for over-fishing.
Mackerels, Tunas, Wahoo
This fishery is a small fishery accessed mainly with mechanized boats. This fishery is also used for tournaments and other sport fishing related activities.