Executive Director of the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust in St. James, Hugh Shim, is extending invitation for grant support for the Trust’s marine initiatives, vital to the conservation and restoration of coastal resources.
Mr. Shim was addressing a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank at the Agency’s Regional Office in Montego Bay, St. James, on Tuesday (June 28). He said funding is currently needed for the reinstallation of an ocean litter containment boom to trap floating debris that enters the sea from South Gully in Montego Bay.
He explained that the boom was there some years ago through support from the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) Clean Coast Project and was instrumental in the containment of Styrofoam as well as plastic straws, plastic bottles and other garbage.
He, however, noted that the project was discontinued in 2018 and it was largely due to funding.
“The most difficult part of that job, really, is to get somebody to collect the garbage to clear it off the boom. All manner of stuff you can think of comes down in the gully [and] at the time, it was about $1.5 million per year. So, we really needed somebody [to] fund that project,” Mr. Shim outlined.
He stated that currently, there is a similar project in Kingston Harbour that has an even superior collection system. He noted that Montego Bay needs two such booms, but major support is required.
The operations of the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust are currently funded by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Department of Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
“Other than that, we have to depend on donors. However, sadly, funds have been diminished over the years. We took a big hit when COVID-19 struck us because you know income wasn’t coming into the Government,” Mr. Shim outlined.
He is urging government agencies and corporate Jamaica to get on board and support the Trust and its initiatives.
The marine park encompasses the entire Montego Bay coastline. It comprises 15.3 square kilometres, beginning at the high-tide mark and extending to the 100-metre depth at sea. The eastern boundary is Tropical Beach, adjacent to the Sangster International Airport, and the western boundary is Rum Bottle Bay, a point close to the Great River.