Friday, May 1, 2015
Jamaican Drone Contractors Testing Drones in Pedro Cays – Why Ministry of Agriculture needs Drones to catch Poachers in the Act
The Ministry of Agriculture is finally making good on former Minister of Agriculture Roger Clarke’s plan to use drone in the fight against Praedial Larceny as noted in my blog article entitled “NAITS Initiative launched at Denbigh Agricultural Show 2014 – How May Pen Police will work to reduce Praedial Larceny with Drones to come by 2017”.
This as testing has begun for the use of Drones to patrol the water just off the coast in the Middle Cays and Pedro Cays as reported in the article “Drone Monitoring Of Seas Moves Closer”, Published Sunday April 26, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.
Rainforest Seafoods Limited, the Fisheries Management and Development Fund have partnered with Drone contractors Jamaica UAV and Jamaica Robotics and Avionics Design Group to develop Drones for this purpose.
Jamaica’s Problem with Overfishing – Drones needed to catch Poachers in the Act
As part of this initiative to use drones to stem the effects of poaching on our fishing stocks, Acting Minister of Agriculture Derrick Kellier has plans to amend the Fisheries Act of 1976 to make the fines larger as reported in the article “Drone Ready For Fisheries Fight”, Published Monday April 27, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.
Apparently fishermen from Latin America have been coming into Jamaican territorial waters and stealing everything from Lobster, Conch and even Sea Cucumbers as noted in the article “Gov't prohibits sea cucumber fishing”, published Tuesday, April 21, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.
Because of the previous mismanagement of our fishing Resources and poaching in our territorial waters, Jamaica is now a net importer of fish and fish products with imports valued at US$135 million in 2013.
Curiously, we only earned about US$35 million in 2013, suggesting drastic action has to be taken to tackle Preadial Larceny's effect on our fishing stock and other. So the idea of Drones with Camera that can transmit a live feed to catch poachers in the act is a solution that was long overdue.
It is in fact the brainchild of the former Minister of Agriculture Roger Clarke as he also suggested along with the NAITS (National Animal Identification and Traceability System) Initiative as noted in my blog article entitled “NAITS Initiative launched at Denbigh Agricultural Show 2014 – How May Pen Police will work to reduce Praedial Larceny with Drones to come by 2017”.
Jamaica UAV and Jamaica Robotics and Avionics Design Group Test Drones – First Flight for Commercial Drone in Jamaica
So on Thursday April 23rd 2015, Drone Contractors Jamaica UAV and Jamaica Robotics and Avionics Design Group did five (5) test flights of their drones and their Live Video capabilities with the blessing of the following representatives from the following companies:
1. Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
2. Fisheries Management and Development Fund
3. Jamaica Robotics and Avionics Design Group
4. Jamaica UAV
5. JCAA (Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority)
6. JDF (Jamaica Defence Force)
7. Marine Police
8. Ministry of National Security
9. Rainforest Seafoods Limited
The plan is apparently to give the drone to the Maritime Police and coast Guard so as to enable them to catch poachers and in the act of illegal fishing of Lobster, Conch, Sea Cucumbers and other produce of the sea from our territorial waters.
This will aid in the conviction of the suspects, as without a live Video feed to confirm, catching the fisherman in the act is nearly impossible, as they can easily drop their catch and speed away, disposing of the evidence.
This is very similar to the Eye in the Sky Initiative by the St. James Police to use Drones to aid in crime-fighting by the Jamaican Police in certain St. James Communities as noted in my blog article entitled “Eye in the Sky Project in Montego Bay – How Drones reduce Crime in St James in 6 months as NAITS Initiative gets Rebooted”.
Interestingly, both Drone Contractors Jamaica UAV and Jamaica Robotics and Avionics Design Group donate their drones to the Ministry of Agriculture for this venture to take place. The Fisheries Development and Management Fund provided funding and so did the Rainforest Seafoods an interested party that uses fish to make many of their products, putting up some US$5000 to fund the project.
So like the Eye in the Sky Project, this initiative to patrol the territorial waters around Middle Cays and Pedro Cays is being funded by the donation of Drones by interested parties. Exciting times ahead, as I cannot wait to see how the planned drone designs will work in the harsh environments of the Sea.