KINGSTON — Jamaica's effort to increase and sustain production of high quality marine products is being enhanced through a $138 million allocation to the Improving Jamaica’s Agricultural Productivity Project (Marine/Environment).
The project seeks to enhance the environment stewardship and management of marine resources by a strengthened cadre of fishers and fisher organisations.
As set out in the 2011/12 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives, the money will be used to establish 1,000 artificial reefs; continue training of fishers; prepare designs and engage civil works contractors; complete construction of fishing beach facilities, including gear sheds, fish marketing and sanitation facilities at Negril, Savanna-La-Mar, Black River and Rocky Point beaches; and construction of fishing beach facilities at Negril.
Other targets for this year include the installation of 30 lobster condominiums; installation of three artificial reefs – one each at Montego Bay, Bluefields and Discovery Bay; complete training and capacity building on all six beaches; and preparation and distribution of Tech Packs for trained stakeholders.
The project, which began in April 2008, has had a number of achievements, including research in fisheries ecology; environmental impact assessment completed; rehabilitation of beach facilities at Calabash Bay and Old Harbour Bay completed; and rehabilitation of beach facilities at Savanna-La-Mar, Black River and Rocky Point in progress.
Other achievements include: preparation and approval of plans for rehabilitation of beach facilities at Negril; eco-reefs brand of artificial reef ordered for delivery in June 2011; installation of 20 lobster condominiums in fish sanctuaries; beach management committees at each of the six selected beach sites; and training sessions held for 831 participants (222 men and 609 women) in more than 10 subject areas.
The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, with funding from the Government of Jamaica, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter