Faster Turnaround For Fisheries Licences And Registration

Stakeholders in the fisheries sector will soon see a major reduction in the turnaround time for the processing of licence and registration applications.

The Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry is working with the Transformation Implementation Unit (TIU) in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service to overhaul the existing manual process involved in providing licences and registration to stakeholders, and replacing it with a modern, efficient, and technologically driven system.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, said that under the current procedure, it can take months after submission of applications and payment of fees, for applicants to receive their licences.

Under the new system, which will be web-based, persons will be able to use their mobile devices to apply to be registered and licensed.

“What we want to move to is real-time application and to reduce this process that takes… sometimes, unfortunately, months for something that can happen within a week,” Minister Green said.

“Persons can apply on the phone, and we’ll be able to send your licences to your phone, so you can have that with you at any time,” he noted.

He said that “training will be a very integral aspect of the rollout of the system, and we will be going out into the nooks and crannies to train our fishers to use this system”.

Minister Green was giving an update on developments under the Fisheries Licensing and Registration System project, during a recent JIS Television ‘Get the Facts’ interview.

Modernising the fisheries licensing system is also expected to save stakeholders time and travel to complete the process.

Each year, from all over Jamaica, a number of fisherfolk journey to the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) in Kingston or one of its sub-offices across the island to get the licensing done.

“When we save them time in doing these mundane activities, they will spend more time investing, reinvesting and going about in relation to their business, and that’s what we want them to focus their energy on,” Minister Green pointed out.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Minister said that the process of data generation will also be made more efficient under the new Fisheries Licensing and Registration System.

“This means that as Minister, I can call on the NFA and [ask] how many fishers we have in this geographic location. I can log into this web-based portal and get that information in real time,” he said.

He noted that the system can also provide indicators “of where our fishers are operating and how we would tie this in to be able to monitor our fishers even when they go out to sea. A lot of real improvement can come from this”.

Another benefit is improved engagement with international partners, particularly as it relates to the sustainable development of the country’s fisheries sector.

“Our international partners call upon us for reports. Instead of having to tell them that you’re going to have to wait months for us to pull this information together manually, we [will be able to say], in real time, we can give you this data on [for example] how many lobsters we have brought in. All of that is critical to adhere to our international commitments, but also for us to properly plan, for us to properly forecast, for us to properly manage our fisheries sector,” he pointed out.

The Agriculture and Fisheries Minister commended the strong leadership provided by the TIU in the development of a First-World Fisheries Licensing and Registration System.

“It is a system that wherever you are at any time, it will be accessible. It will be ranked among the best in the world, and we’ll be the leader in the region and this hemisphere. So, we’re very proud of it, and when it comes to fruition, it will be something to boast about,” he said.

Development of the system, valued at US$1.2 million, is being executed under a six-year programme being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

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