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5.1 Government policy in the region
5.2 Government organizations in the region
5.3 Aquaculture legislation
5.4 Trade and business associations
5.5 Information resources for management
5.6 Technical assistance projects In the sub-sector

5.1 Government policy in the region

In the Greater Antilles aquaculture is repeatedly and publicly identified as one of the priority sectors in which rapid expansion is expected. In Jamaica and Cuba long-term aquaculture development programmes are being carried out with large supporting budgets. In Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Trinidad aquaculture is often mentioned in policy statements and plans, but the available national financial resources for aquaculture promotion are limited and inadequately distributed. Typically, there is a concentration of staff in the central administration and in research centres, and a lack of funds to cover extension services, operating costs of pilot-stations or hatcheries, and capital assistance to the producers.

It was recommended at the second CARICOM Technical Seminar on Fisheries (Kingston, 1982) that all member states devise, as a matter of urgency, aquaculture development policies. Aquaculture is therefore included by the majority of governments in current fisheries or agriculture development plans as a priority area. However, the lack of experienced staff continues to be a major constraint to planning and development of the sector. In most countries key components, such as planning, credit, economics, and environmental concerns, continue to be neglected.

The governments of the region predominantly state similar policies for the sector. Their main objectives are to increase fish production, improve the institutional level, improve the foreign exchange balance by limiting imports of fish for local or tourist consumption, and exporting high value products (such as marine shrimps from Cuba). Also to increase rural employment and incomes of farmers and fishermen through aquaculture, and finally to improve the utilization of land and water resources and other by-products of national industries.

National action plans, complete with budgets, have been produced by Cuba and Jamaica. In French Antilles aquaculture is considered a priority by Regional Councils and national Governments, and by the EEC through its support for development of fish production and for development of less developed regions. In St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and the Bahamas, aquaculture is included in fishery development plans implemented with the assistance of FAO through its Technical Cooperation Programme, or with bilateral assistance.

5.2 Government organizations in the region

In most countries of the region responsibility for aquaculture is vested in the respective Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, some of which have a separate department or division for fisheries.

In the Lesser Antilles these services are under-staffed (usually only 1-3 fisheries officers), and there is no separate aquaculture capability or service. One of the fishery officers is usually designated the responsibility but his activities are often limited by lack of training and experience. Expertise is often required from outside the region.

In the Greater Antilles aquaculture receives better attention from the governments. In Cuba aquaculture is under the responsibility of the Ministry of the Fisheries Industry, with research under the Centre de Investigaciones Pesqueras and development/production by Empresa Nacional de Acuicultura. These two institutions are well staffed with experienced personnel.

In Jamaica the Inland Fisheries Unit has its own extension branch. It is established within the Department of Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture. The unit has 30 qualified central staff and 75 field staff, and manages research, training, extension services, and fry production.

In Haiti aquaculture is managed by the Service des Pêches et de la Pisciculture, Direction des Ressources Naturelles, Ministère de l'Agriculture des Ressources Naturelles et du Dèveloppement Rural. This service is under-staffed but has responsibilities for the management of a research station, training, and extension services. The UNDP/FAO project is assisting in institution building.

In Dominican Republic the Unidad de Piscicultura, Departamento de Recursos Pesqueros, Secretaría de Estado de Agricultura, is in charge of the aquaculture sector. Research is conducted by this service, together with three other public and non-governmental institutions. Although the regional administration has staff responsible for extension there is a lack of training and experience, and a shortage of operating funds.

In Grenada the Artisanal Fisheries Development Project is the body responsible for the management of the fisheries sector and falls under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Cooperatives and Fisheries. The National Science and Technology Council is the organization responsible for research.

In Trinidad aquaculture is managed by the Ministry of Food Production, Marine Exploitation, Forestry and the Environment. Research and development is the responsibility of another institution, the Institute of Marine Affairs in the Ministry of Planning and Reconstruction.

In the French Antilles marine aquaculture is the responsibility of the Secretariat d'Etat à la Mer, and freshwater aquaculture under the Ministry of Agriculture. Research and technical assistance are provided by IFREMER.

5.3 Aquaculture legislation

Few countries in the region have enacted specific legislation for aquaculture as yet. The French Antilles have national legislation for the use of water, both fresh and marine, and this therefore affects water intakes for aquaculture practices. For the use of coastal areas, which are considered public places owned by the government, leasing of areas for aquaculture sites is possible for a 15-year period, with an option to renew. In Antigua all coastal areas are also owned by the government but there is no provision for leasing them; however, technically it is possible to arrange a 10-year lease with an option to renew.

In Bahamas the Government received assistance from FAO in 1983 to complete a number of aquaculture regulations for development. The country has draft legislation on aquaculture but the present level of activity makes it almost inapplicable. Present aquaculture operations are conducted under permits from the Department of Fisheries. Operators are required to pay an annual fee of US$ 50 per research operation, and US$ 500 for commercial activities. Fisheries inspectors can visit an operation facility at any time, and producers are required to provide an annual report on their commercial activities.

In St. Lucia during 1982 and 1983 subsidies were made available for pond construction, financing up to 33.3% of the cost of excavation. Economic difficulties, however, led to the cancelling of such policy.

In Dominican Republic aquaculture legislation falls under Law No. 5914 of 1961. Several decrees legislate the importation of live aquatic resources and on importation tariffs. Law No. 311 exempts aquaculture activities from taxes. The National Land Registrar, the Dominican Agrarian Institute, and the Sugar State Council have requested legal advice from the Fisheries Resources Department on the regulation of land for aquaculture purposes. Water use is regulated by the National Institute of Water Resources which, until now, has not objected to any use of water for aquaculture.

In Cuba legislation on the exploitation of fisheries resources is contained in the General Law of Fisheries of 1936. As it is outdated, aquaculture is mostly regulated by Temporal Dispositions ordained by the Ministry of the Fishing Industry, which is presently elaborating a new law for the legislation of both inland and marine fisheries.

There are regulations for financial assistance to aquaculture producers in the French Antilles. There are tax exemptions for foreign companies investing in Dominican Republic, Cayman Islands, Netherlands Antilles, Jamaica, Bahamas, and Bermuda.

Environmental regulations affecting aquaculture in the region either do not exist or are specific. As yet there are no restrictions on the introduction of species from outside, or on transfers between islands provided a certificate of health is obtained from a veterinary service. One regulation from outside the region which effects Cayman Islands is the introduction of certain protected species into the USA. Consequently a commercial producer of green turtle has had to restrict production to the local and non-USA markets for both meat and shell products.

5.4 Trade and business associations

With the exception of associations of local producers and professionals, (see sections 2.5 and 4.5) there are no national trade or business associations which have been established in the interests of unifying national production or the export of aquaculture products.

The St. Lucia Fish Marketing Corporation is a fish processing complex established with the assistance of CIDA. In Jamaica fish farmers are considering a more active role for their association for growth and progress of the industry, but nothing has yet been formalized.

5.5 Information resources for management

There are few, if any, resources of information for management produced in the region. There are a number of newsletters which contain a range of information for all levels of the sector, such as Network News produced by the FAO Caribbean Technical Cooperation Network in Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, and "Acuicultura" produced by the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean for its Aquaculture Network; "ALA Informativo", "Aquarius", and the "Revista Latinoamericana de Acuicultura", INFOFISH International, INFOPESCA, and Aquaculture Digest (see 1.6 and 4.6).

Publications by AQUILA contain information relevant to planning and management of the sector in the region, such as the Proceedings of the Technical Meeting on Aquaculture Planning, held in Caracas, Venezuela (8-12 May 1989).

Useful management information is provided by FAO through ADCP. ADCP publishes a quarterly newsletter, called Aquaculture Minutes, and other relevant documents in the form of guidelines and advisory papers, and through individual mission reports.

The most relevant management circular, which at times has relevance for the region, is Eurofish Report. This is a two-weekly review of European and world fishing and fisheries, with comprehensive coverage of EEC legislation and the Common Fisheries Policy. It contains much information about aquaculture, including EEC grants and loans, legislation, new investments, joint ventures, and supplies and prices.

5.6 Technical assistance projects In the sub-sector

A number of technical assistance projects have been established for management at the regional level, most of them executed by FAO.

Within the framework of the Caribbean Technical Cooperation Network in Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, FAO implemented through its Technical Cooperation Programme a project to strengthen Jamaica's Inland Fisheries Unit to support training courses for participants from Caribbean countries.

In 1980, in cooperation with the UNDP/FAO project "Interregional Fisheries Development and Management Programme", ADCP reviewed the status and potential of aquaculture in the region, and formulated recommendations for development of the sector in the small island states. It concluded that a regional programme of research and development was essential as it would enable effective use of national and regional resources. As a result, a joint ADCP/FAO and CARICOM aquaculture mission was fielded in 1982 to provide background information on the potential for aquaculture in the sub-region and to determine the interest in a regional approach to development similar to the ADCP's four other regional programmes in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Mediterranean, all of which were supported by UNDP. It recommended creation of a regional centre in the Caribbean to serve the needs of both large and small island states, particularly the English-speaking countries.

Subsequently, a proposal for the creation of a Caribbean Regional Aquaculture Centre was prepared by FAO and endorsed by Jamaica as the selected host country. This proposal was submitted by CARICOM in 1986 to Lome HI/EEC under its agricultural sector programme, but has not been approved. In order to provide an information bridge before the start of the project, FAO implemented a project "Organization and Management Training for Aquaculture Development". Its purpose was to assess general requirements for growth and development of aquaculture in CARICOM states and identify support services needed. It also tried to elaborate objectives for the training programme of the proposed regional centre. These objectives were identified at an Aquaculture Planning and Sensitization Seminar and an Aquaculture Training Development Workshop held in the region in 1987.

FAO, also through its Technical Cooperation Programme, implemented a sub-regional project to harmonize and coordinate fishery legislation and agreements, which had some small relevance to aquaculture. The purpose was to assist the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). It produced an educational handbook for fishermen and vocational trainees in schools to increase their awareness of the need for legislation.

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