Friday 21st December, 2018 –The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment has granted lobster farmers an extension on the use of Styrofoam.
It followed a meeting held on Thursday between lobster farmers, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, the Hon. Molwyn Joseph and Environment Implementation Coordinator, Indira James-Henry.
During the consultation, the farmers were asked by Minister Joseph what challenges they will face as a result of the ban on Styrofoam Coolers.
The Lobster Farmers indicated that their concerns were regulations set by airlines regarding the type of containers lobsters should be exported in and if the alternative option will be accepted by the carriers.
Another concern was the cost of the alternative options and its durability through the long hours of travel. The lobsters are exported as far as Europe and Asia, specifically Hong Kong and China, sometimes for 34 hours.
Minister Joseph, in response, indicated his willingness to work with the lobster farmers so that their trade is not interrupted. He has given a 6 month extension, until June 30 for them to transition to more eco-friendly products.
During the period, the Fisheries Division will be responsible for purchasing the Styrofoam coolers while establishing an identification system. This will ensure that the containers are accounted for at all times, reducing circulation in the local market.
They have also agreed to use standardized sizes of boxes as another way of accountability.
Environment Implementation Coordinator, Indira James-Henry indicated to the farmers that a suitable sustainable alternative has been identified in line with the Ministry’s initiative. Green Cell Foam is made from corn and is biodegradable.
The extension granted is exclusive to lobster farmers who are shipping their products.