The Jamaica Fishermen Co-operative Union (then the Jamaica Co-operative Union) started in 1942 as an umbrella organisation for all co-operatives in Jamaica. Jamaica Welfare Limited, a social services organisation started by National Hero, Norman Manley decided to set up the Co-operative to promote the development and to co-ordinate the activities of co-operatives. The organisation grew during the years of World War II, to become a vibrant consumer co-operative, purchasing scarce food items such as flour, sugar and milk, in bulk for member co-operatives that operated buying clubs. The Co-operative Union began supplying fishing equipment to the fishing industry in the 1950's. This aspect of its business grew with the acquisition by fishing co-operatives and 3000 pounds sterling to buy stock.
Today the JFCU is a secondary co-operative society with membership of nine primary fishermen co-operatives and several hundred individual fishermen. Combined membership in the JFCU from these two sources is about 4,000. The JFCU now provides a range of services to its members and other licensed fishermen. It is a major supplier of a wide range of commercial fishing equipment to fishermen in the island and is managed by a nine-man board representing member societies.