JIS News

Sandals Foundation has embarked on an Educational Campaign to heighten citizens’ awareness of marine preservation.
The programme, which is being held in collaboration with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), commenced Tuesday (June 8) with the World Oceans Day celebrations and exhibition at the Island Village Complex, Ocho Rios.
Approximately 400 students from various schools within the parishes of St. Ann and St. Mary participated in the event, which allowed them to grasp valuable information through pamphlets and posters as well as educational films.
Programmes Director for the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke, told JIS News that Sandals Foundation and NEPA, among other groups, were working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries on marine preservation.
“This show is basically going to travel throughout Jamaica for the next two months, and we are going to appeal to school children, community people, community leaders, fishermen and just about anyone who needs to know about it, we are going to invite them to this show,” Miss Clarke said.
She explained that with the reliance on reefs for tourism, for livelihood of many people in fisheries, the programme would be about educating people about this.
She noted that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries was trying to establish fish sanctuaries in a number of areas, so Sandals Foundation would be trying to go into as many of these areas to help residents understand the importance of marine preservation.
“We are going to try and have these sessions in as many places as possible, because the more people we have buying into this, then the better it will be for the whole island,” she told JIS News.
Environmental Officer at NEPA’s Ecosystems Management Branch, Monique Curtis, said that she was pleased with the level of participation from the students.
“The students are learning about the invasive species such as the lion fish, which they are quite excited about because it is so colourful but, in fact, this species is causing quite a stir in terms of the impact they have on our local fisheries,” she said.
Student at Logan’s Preparatory School, Ategie Edwards, told JIS News that the day’s activity was informative and educational.
“It was indeed valuable information, and I am thanking Sandals for hosting this event so that we could learn about coral reefs and how the reefs can help us and how we can help to protect the reefs,” she said.
World Oceans Day was celebrated worldwide on June 8, with the theme this year being “Oceans of Life,” which focused on the ocean’s great diversity of life and how everyone can help in its conservation.

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