JIS News

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  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the Administration welcomes partnership with non-government groups for the protection of the environment.
  • Minister Vaz, in his address to the fishing and tourism interests, said the fish sanctuary is the first step towards preserving the parish’s marine life, noting that it will assist in safeguarding the country’s food supply.
  • These include fishermen, the Maroon communities, residents, private landowners, commercial hotel operators and entrepreneurs.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the Administration welcomes partnership with non-government groups for the protection of the environment.

“This Administration …is inclusive. We realise that partnership is one way to get Jamaica moving in the right direction. We realise that it is not just a vibrant economy that is important to us as a people but other areas such as the environment, which too have a tremendous impact on people’s lives and that together, we must find solutions,” he said.

Minister Vaz, who has responsibility for environmental matters, was addressing the official launch of the East Portland Fish Sanctuary and opening of the Alligator Head Foundation’s headquarters at Turtle Crawl in the parish on Saturday (March 19).

A fish sanctuary is a coastal area where no fishing is allowed so that fish (and other sea life) have a haven to breed and grow, in order to increase the fish stock and keep it healthy.

The East Portland sanctuary stretches along six kilometres of coastline that lies between the parish’s famous Blue Lagoon attraction and the Trident Hotel.

The project area is being managed by the Alligator Head Foundation in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Minister Vaz, in his address to the fishing and tourism interests, said the fish sanctuary is the first step towards preserving the parish’s marine life, noting that it will assist in safeguarding the country’s food supply.

He also expressed gratitude to the Austria-based Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) Academy, which, through founder and Portland resident, Archduchess Francesca von Habsburg-Lothringen, provided a US$100,000 endowment fund to establish the Alligator Head Foundation.

Over the past two years, the project has been steadily gaining ground, building relationships with local stakeholders and providing training in sustainable practices.

These include fishermen, the Maroon communities, residents, private landowners, commercial hotel operators and entrepreneurs.

Minister Vaz welcomed the inclusive approach, noting that this will assist in developing a robust, ecological stewardship programme for the area.

“Our most valuable stakeholders are the fishermen, who should be brought fully on board and I would like to congratulate all involved for doing that. I’ve gotten first-hand account of their involvement. Let us, through partnership with these fishermen, hasten to preserve what we have and make every effort to restore what we have lost,” he said.

International environmental partners of the project include: Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, OneReef, and Parley for the Ocean.