Sunday, October 17, 2010



COBIA NET POND GROWING IN THE OPEN SEA. The net ponds were established behind the shelter of the Robinson Point set of Cayes and reefs. The blame of the decline is partially on management some experts say. In 2008 the production was 845 thousand pounds. In 2009 the production was down to 500 thousand pounds. Rising feed prices by 30% were given by management as the problem. In 2008 the export value was $2.2 million USD. In 2009 the export value $1 million USD. Besides feed costs rising, the other major factors facing the COBIA net growing industrial operation was scarcity of fingerlings and seed stocks. The science and technology is there to bring back this operation, it may be the profit margin was not great enough?

TILAPIA growing inshore with ponds. Fresh Catch Ltd. the only large industrial TILAPIA operation has gone into receivership. There are about 53 small farmers going into Tilapia ponds, using about 13 acres. There are no production figures for the investor from the Department of Natural Resources as far as we know. Or other input data, for investment analysis. I have tried to find this out for about 10 years, but so far nothing available. Tilapia previously went to the USA as frozen fillets for supermarkets. Today the product is sold to Mexico as fresh gutted fish across the border. No attempt by any fish farming operation has tried to export product to Japan or China. The Jamaica market failed for lack of foreign exchange to buy. They need the fish, but cannot pay.

SHRIMP FARMING has gone through a BOOM and BUST cycle, with the drop in world prices. In the beginning, tons of money was made. The peak was 2003 when 16 million pounds of shrimp were produced at a value of $92 million. There were at one time seven shrimp farm operations. Combined export was 8.6 million pounds of shrimp. Shrimp farm pond acreage in production has dropped from a high 6,800 acres to 3,200 acres.

The mainstay of commercial fishing, is artisanal fishermen working the offshore barrier reef islands and turtle grass beds in shallow water. The deep water offshore has a minimal amount of snapper stocks for a few boats. In shore, conchs, lobster and various fish are produced. Much of the concentrated spawning areas have been devastated by overfishing and no longer produce. Being clear tropical water, with limited nutrients, none of the fish populations are large, but do provide a living for non-technical type investment fisherman on a casual basis for local market consumption. The human population is getting bigger than the ability to provide hand caught fish.

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