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JIS News

Residents of Clarendon were on Tuesday (February 2) sensitised about the need to protect the island’s wetlands to preserve the environment and safeguard the local fish population.
Occasion was a World Wetlands Day event, which was organised by the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM).
The day’s activities began at the Monymusk Gun and Tillers Club, where the participants heard presentations on environmental management from representatives of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and Jamalco, before travelling by boat to various mangrove areas where they helped to plant seedlings.
Environmental Officer at NEPA, Ms. Chalene Roye, in her presentation, informed that Jamaica is one of the most overfished countries in the Caribbean. She said that wetlands create the ideal habitat for juvenile fish to grow. “This is one reason why we should protect the wetlands,” she stated.
Ms. Roye is advising fishers not to cast their nets in the mangroves, because the fish nurseries are located in these areas. “Go out to the reefs where the larger fishes are. Don’t cut down the mangroves for coal. If you cut them down you are going to have your coastline being more susceptible to storm surges and events where you have strong wave energy,” she stated.
Science Teacher at Vere Technical High, Ms. Notoyee Clarke, who took her students to the event, told JIS News that the school has a keen interest in environmental issues.
“Also, we have students, who are doing Environmental Studies at the CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination) level, and this is a very important forum for the students to get hands-on experience on what is happening in the environment,” she pointed out.
She noted that mangroves are very important as they act as a wave barrier during storm surges, and filter pollutants that enter the sea that can damage the fish population. “We in the Caribbean depend on our waters for our food and money transactions, so we enlighten our students on all these matters,” Miss Clarke said.
For her part, Executive Director of C-CAM, Ingrid Parchment, said that the day was important in highlighting the need to ensure the sustainability of the fishing industry, on which so many people in Clarendon depend.
“This is an area where. most of the persons rely on the natural (environment) to make a living. We have 4,000 of the 16,000 fishermen in Jamaica living in the Portland Bight Protected Area,” she informed.