Roles and Functions

Commercial aquaculture was introduced to Jamaica in 1976 through a USAID/GOJ funded project. This project was very successful and led to the establishment of aquaculture in Jamaica. Although aquaculture has grown to include shrimp farming and ornamental aquatic flora and fauna species, tilapia is the main food fish produced in Jamaica both for local consumption as well as for export.

The Aquaculture Branch of the Fisheries Division, under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries, has been mandated to provide the support mechanisms needed to foster the sustainable development of the Aquaculture sector. This is achieved through the following:

  1. provision of Extension Services to fish farmers
  2. provision of other support servicesincluding sale of high quality ornamental and food fish seed stocks
  3. engaging in adaptive research of economically important species of freshwater flora and fauna and
  4. training and technology transfer
Pond construction

Extension Services

  • Site evaluation
  • Cost/Return analysis
  • Pond construction supervision
  • Routine and emergency assessments
  • On and offsite training
  • Technical advice

Research & Development

  • Investigation of indigenous species
  • Investigations into the production of the red tilapia fingerlings
  • Tilapia feed formulation
  • Production of mangrove oysters
  • Alternative feed formulation from natural resources

Other Support Services

  • Sale of ornamental and tilapia seedstock
  • Rental of equipment used in production, delivery and harvesting of fish
    • Seine nets
    • Hauling tanks
    • Aeration pumps
Training session in aquaculture production

Training and Technology Transfer

  • Pond management
  • Proper feeding techniques
  • Fish biology
  • Water quality management
  • Pests and diseases control
  • Live food culture
  • Breeding different species of fish
  • Construction of aquarium and filters

Mariculture Facility

Cultured cup oysters at Bowden Bay

Our Mariculture Facility is located at Bowden Bay in St. Thomas. The aim of the research facility is to provide an alternative to the over-exploited marine capture fishery. Additionally it is expected that activities in mariculture will increase the production of marine food products for local and export consumption.

Some of our key activities include:

  • production of mangrove oyster
  • Lobster Casita projects
  • training in the use of the Fish Aggregation Device
  • Longline culture of Irish moss


The Aquaculture Branch undertakes four training seminars per annum. Two of these seminars are geared towards food fish farmers covering effective pond management, proper feeding techniques, fish biology, water quality management and record keeping.

The other two seminars are specifically designed for ornamental fish farmers. Over the two-week period the aquaculturists are exposed to pests and diseases preventative measures, basic fish biology, feeding techniques based on developmental stages, live food culture, breeding practices, as well as guided in the construction of aquarium and certain filters.

Public Awareness

Our role in increasing public awareness of the aquaculture sector typically entails participation in agricultural shows. There are four annual shows which the Aquaculture Branch attends, namely World Food Day, Denbigh, St. Mary and Montpelier agricultural shows. However, we may participate in other agricultural shows upon invitation and visit schools throughout the island.

At these events, information is generally disseminated in the form of brochures, posters, live demonstrations, as well as consultation with competent technical officers present.