The Senate on Friday passed legislation to amend the Conch (Export Levy) Act in relation to the 2013 conch season only.
The passage of this bill will permit exporters of conch to complete payment of the conch export levy within three months of the date an application for an export health certificate and export licence has been submitted.
Additionally, the bill seeks to permit payment of the levy in instalments, over a three-month period.
Senator Norman Grant, who commented on the bill during a debate last Friday in the Senate, said the new law would support some 2,000 persons operating in the conch industry.
He said 99 per cent of the catch locally was prepared for the export market.
Grant said the local conch industry earned some US$9 million in foreign exchange.
However, in his contribution to the debate, Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate Tom Tavares- Finson highlighted the vexed issue of poaching in Jamaican waters by fishermen from Central America.
He called for the Government to take steps to prevent fishermen from other jurisdictions from depleting Jamaica's conch resources, noting that they were not subject to quotas like local fisherfolk who had to comply with the law.
Another opposition senator, Kavan Gayle, urged Foreign Affairs Minister A.J. Nicholson to engage his South and Central American counterparts on the issue with a view to protecting Jamaica's conch resources from poachers.