Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Field Project Summary
Sustainable livelihoods for artisanal fishers through stakeholder co-management in the Portland Bight Protected Area, Jamaica

Revision Date: 1st March, 2001.
Title:  Sustainable Livelihoods for Artisanal Fishers through Stakeholder Co-Management in the Portland Bight Protected Area, Jamaica. (Former title: People and protected areas – the Portland Bight sustainable development area.)
Goals: To reverse the extreme overfishing in Jamaica’s most productive mainland fishery and to balance fishing effort so to achieve maximum sustainable yield; to empower local artisanal fishers to manage their fishery landing sites, as well as the fisheries on the island shelf using coastal ‘wise practices’; to establish a terrestrial and marine protected area in the Portland Bight Area (PBA) of Jamaica’s south coast; to diversify the economy of the Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA) to provide alternatives to primary natural resource extraction, particularly through the introduction of nature tourism; to provide a model of natural resource management and human development which may be adapted to other parts of Jamaica and to other islands with a similar context.
Location: The Portland Bight Protected Area on the south coast of Jamaica.
Starting date: 1993, with the efforts divided into several phases.
Partners: Caribbean Coastal Area Management (C-CAM) Foundation; Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA), the Fisheries Division of the Government of Jamaica; various fishers’ associations and co-operatives; UNESCO: Coastal Regions and Small Islands platform.
Pilot project leader:

Rev. Peter Espeut, Executive Director, Caribbean Coastal Area Management (C-CAM) Foundation, P.O. Box 33, Lionel Town, Clarendon, Jamaica, West Indies.
Tel: 876 986 3344; Fax: 876 986 3956.
e-mail: pespeut@infochan.com
web site: www.portlandbight.com.jm;

Description: There have been six major activities:
(1) Biophysical and socioeconomic baseline studies (started 1993).  In order to know in detail the health of the human and natural resources of Portland Bight and to be better able to judge the effectiveness of management strategies, biophysical and socioeconomic baseline studies were commissioned.  These include studies on the forests, reptiles, birds, wetlands, marine turtles, coral reefs and the human population.
(2) Formation of primary fishers’ organizations (started 1994).  Of the eight fish landing sites within the PBPA, only two had functioning organizations (co-operatives).  The fisherfolk were assisted to form an additional five fishers’ organizations.  Later, an inactive fishing co-operative was reactivated.  Skills training was offered, and a participative workshop on fisheries management was held with each of the new organizations.
(3) Formation of Fisheries Stakeholder (Co-Management) Council (started 1995).  On the Food and Agricultural Organization International Fishermen’s Day (June 29) 1995 the Portland Bight Fisheries Management Council (PBFMC) was launched, and to October 2000 has held sixty monthly meetings.  There are thirty-two members, drawn from the fishers’ organizations and co-operatives, government agencies and NGOs, and they have reviewed existing laws, drafted regulations for the PBPA, supported enforcement activities and undertaken conflict resolution.
(4) Fisherfolk appointed as Honorary Game Wardens/Fisheries Inspectors (begun 1995).  Each year about fifty fishers and fish vendors (men and women) are appointed Honorary Game Wardens/Fisheries Inspectors by Jamaica’s Head of State.  They have powers of arrest and search without warrant, and have enforced Jamaica’s Wildlife Protection Act and Fishing Industry Act.  This is real empowerment, and has been a major factor in motivating the fisherfolk and convincing them that improvements in the fisheries are possible.  It also makes it very likely that the regulations will be obeyed.
(5) Declaration of Portland Bight Protected Area (1999).  On Earth Day (April 22) 1999 the order bringing the Portland Bight Protected Area into existence was signed by Jamaica’s Minister of the Environment.  This was the culmination of a series of meetings that led to the preparation of the Management Plan for the PBPA.  A second council, the Portland Bight Citizens’ Council, composed of representatives of civil society, local and central government, and other NGOs, was established and is ongoing.
(6) Delegation of management authority for the PBPA (expected 2000).  Jamaica has no legal framework within which stakeholder co-management can be located; government will delegate management authority to C-CAM who will operate along co-management lines through a series of councils, with the Sustainable Development Council at the apex.
Achievements & Assessment: (1) Empowerment of the stakeholders:  The Honorary Game Warden programme and the PBFMC process have empowered fisherfolk in real terms, and have the possibility for further deepening.
(2) Further funding: A Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Block B Project Development Fund, co-financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) of US$509,000 has been approved, to prepare for a full project of US$6 million.  This grant will fund the implementation of the Management Plan for the PBPA.
Future Directions: (1) Management of the PBPA: When management authority is finally delegated to C-CAM, the on-the-ground management will begin.  This will be the real test of the approach.
(2) Further biophysical and socioeconomic studies: Further studies will need to be done to assess the effectiveness of the management efforts so far, particularly with respect to fisheries.
(3) Assessment of local knowledge of resource change: Semi-directive interviews with local fisherfolk (men and women) will investigate stability and change in fishing strategies, and assess local understandings of shifts in coastal resource abundance, as well as explanations for these changes and trends.
(4) The establishment of nature tourism: With the GEF/IDB funding, as well as with assistance from Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism, a nature tourism programme will be implemented which will diversify the local economy and improve living conditions for residents.  With the realisation that the local economy depends upon the health of the environment, this should lead to the deepening of a conservation ethic among the residents.
Introduction Activities Publications Search
Wise Practices Regions Themes