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Operational Support to Marine Managed Areas in Jamaica

In Jamaica, CATS assists four Marine Managed Areas (MMA) in the consolidation of sustainable management procedures and sustainable financial management in particular. Those MMAs are

  1. Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA), managed by the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (CCAM-F)
  2. Negril Marine Park (NMP), managed by the Negril area Environmental Protection Trust (NEPT)
  3. Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary (OBFS), managed by the Oracabessa Bay Foundation
  4. Montego Bay Marine Park (MBMP), managed by the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust

Jamaica has over the past 20 years made concerted attempts to manage its natural assets in the face of increasing environmental degradation from human impact and more recently, the exacerbating effects of climate change. Jamaica has accumulated to date some 80 managed areas under 17 different land use categories; there are over 32 protected areas listed in the proposed National System of Protected Areas (NSPA). This system is framed by a plethora of international agreements and conventions, among others related to the conservation biological diversity, including the 2003 United Nations Convention on Biodiversity. It is described by 21 laws and nearly 20 national policies and plans as well as a complex regulatory framework, spread across 4 principal agencies (National Environment and Planning Agency, Fisheries Division, Forestry Department and Jamaica National Heritage Trust).

In spite of these initiatives, Sustainable Financing for Management (SFM) of Marine Managed Areas (MMAs) remains an elusive goal with all existing protected areas remaining under-financed and thus having limited effectiveness and an uncertain future. The decline in coral cover of important areas of the island’s northern reefs from 52% in the late 1970‘s to 3% (UNDP) by the late 1990‘s is disturbing. While not negating the value and importance of the declared protected areas, the statistics mirror a more general failure to effectively halt the decline in marine and terrestrial biological diversity.

In the post-Rio period, a heightened awareness within the country of the rapidly declining state of the island’s biodiversity and the risks posed to the valuable ecosystem services, prompted initiatives at the beginning of the 90’s such as the USAID/ TNC/ GOJ Protected Areas Resource Conservation (PARC) Project to establish pilot parks and a national system of protected areas. Following on the PARC Projects (I and II), were several similar initiatives such as the Ridge to Reef and Parks in Peril Projects, which after nearly 2 decades, resulted in the establishment of several new parks, fish sanctuaries/protected areas, regulations and institutions. However in spite of the millions of dollars in expenditure of project funds, the old problems of financial sustainability remained unresolved and without conclusion; in fact in some regard they were exacerbated.

CATS is currently providing significant assistance to the Jamaican MMAs to introduce sustainable revenue generation from a Dollar-a-Day Initiative.

In addition, CATS provides selected financial and technical assistance to the acquisition and installation of necessary equipment, gear and infrastructure for sustainable MMA management, such as

Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA)

  • 4x4 project vehicle
  • Work and patrol boat
  • Solar energy installation at CCAM-F office
  • Solar panel beach lamps at Portland Bight beach (fish landing site)

Negril Marine Park (NMP)

  • Office equipment
  • Signage and info boards

Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary (OBFS)

  • OBFS Dive Shop (building)
  • Dive, patrol and work boat
  • Dive equipment
  • Power tools and construction material
  • Capacity building in business development
  • Commercial SCUBA course and certification
  • Development of a community-based workshop for local production of MMA mooring and marker buoys

Montego Bay Marine Park (MBMP)

  • Glass-bottom boat (convertible into work and patrol boat)
  • Business development and revenue generation (MBMP is CATS pilot MMA for the Dollar-a-Day Initiative)
Related posts and updates on recent activities:
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