The Jamaica Fishermen Co-operative Union (JFCU) started in 1942 (then renamed the Jamaica Co-operative Union), as an umbrella organisation for all co-operatives in Jamaica. In 1954 it was registered as a fishermen’s cooperative and began supplying fishing equipment to the fishing industry.
Today the JFCU is a secondary co-operative society with membership of primary fishermen co-operatives and several hundred individual fishermen. Combined membership in the JFCU from these two sources is about 1,800. Today, the JFCU it is a major supplier of a wide range of commercial fishing equipment to fishermen in the island and is managed by a board representing member societies. The cooperative provides the best quality fishing equipment, goods and services at competitive costs. At the same time, the cooperative protects the interest of its members and stakeholders through effective representation, public education and by advancing environmental protection.
The JFCU is committed to improving the social and economic welfare of its member and stakeholders by utilizing their united funds and efforts in an effective and efficient manner. In this respect, it offers certain benefits to its member societies, which are passed on to individual fishermen. These includes: a patronage refund, a dividend on shares programme and scholarships for the children of its members.
In addition, the co-operative plays an important role in the sustainable development of the sector through the protection of the marine environment, helping to stem the decline of stocks and ensure the long-term survival of the industry. The work they have being doing includes training fishermen to help change cultural practices, which are harmful to the marine environment. The Jamaica Fishermen Co-operative Union also supports these efforts by selling appropriated equipment for sustainable fishery, such as netting, to ensure that juvenile fish remain free.