Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Jamaica

A major contribution to the development and refinement of CSI’s scope and objectives was made by a Jamaican specialist who attended the Experts Meeting (Paris, November 1996).

One laboratory in Jamaica takes part in the ‘Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity (CARICOMP) field project’. It monitors coral reef, mangrove and seagrass sites in Discovery Bay. The collected output of such monitoring, throughout the region, was published as CSI Papers 3 ‘CARICOMP. Caribbean Coral Reef, Seagrass and Mangrove Sites’. In addition to continued support for systematic biological monitoring, a particular effort is being made at a selected number of sites to analyse the socio-economic and cultural dynamics of natural resource use. The data generated by the CARICOMP project are collated at the Data Management Centre at the University of the West Indies in Kingston. A Jamaican national is a member of the Steering Committee and attended the Steering Committee Meetings in Miami, USA, October 1996 and January 2000. A national site director attended site directors meetings, in Cancún, Mexico in November 1996, Blackrock, Trinidad and Tobago in May 1998 and in San José, Costa Rica in May/June 2000, for information exchange with, and technical assistance from, the CARICOMP steering committee. Two specialists attended the project’s sub-committee meeting on CSI pilot project development (Jamaica, September 1996), and two resource persons from Jamaica participated in a seminar on the ‘Study and Management of Coastal Regions of Haiti’ (Port-au-Prince, Haiti, December 1996).

A regional workshop was organized in Kingston in May 1998 on ‘The Use of Natural Coastal Resources at CARICOMP Sites: Monitoring, Community-based Management, and Socio-economic/cultural Studies’; 26 participants from Jamaica attended it. A summary of the CARICOMP project, its goals, achievements and future direction was produced in March 2001.

Since 1993 a field project on ‘Sustainable Livelihoods for Artisanal Fishers through Stakeholder Co-management in the Portland Bight Protected Area’ (old name: ‘People and Protected Areas - the Portland Bight Sustainable Development Area’ [Jamaica] ), has been run jointly by: CSI the Caribbean Coastal Area Management (C-CAM) Foundation; the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA), the Fisheries Division of the Government of Jamaica; and various fishers’ associations and co-operatives.

As part of the Portland Bight project reciprocal exchange visits involving Fisher Associations in Jamaica and Haiti were successfully organized between 24 August and 4 September 1998 with the assistance of the Jamaican Coast Guard and support from the National Commissions. The 17 Jamaican and 14 Haitian participants shared information and experience on fishing techniques and marketing, over-exploitation of coastal resources, the organization of local fisher associations and local control of resource use. To highlight the lessons learnt from these exchange visits and disseminate them among the Fisher Association in both countries a thirty minute video documentary was produced at the end of 1999 in English and Creole. An expert presented these project results at the intersectoral workshop ‘Towards Wise Coastal Development Practices’ held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in the beginning of December 1998. A report on the workshop was published in English and French as CSI info 10 (2000): ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development. Results of an Intersectoral Workshop and Preliminary Findings of a Follow-up Virtual Forum’. It contains four papers on Jamaica. A review of the Portland Bight project was published in the autumn/winter 1999 edition of Marituentas.

In order to launch a pilot project on ‘Wise Practices’ in Integrated Coastal Management in Jamaica’ in May 1998 a person from UNESCO-Paris visited Jamaica in March.

Following a ‘Declaration Order’ in April 1999 Jamaica’s Minister of the Environment and Housing formally declared Portland Bight a protected area in June 1999. A paper on the political and policy back-ground of Jamaica’s protected areas was posted for discussion on the ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum’ shortly after the declaration of Jamaica’s newest protected area. A website has been set up for the Portland Bight Protected Area to demonstrate and disseminate examples of wise practices for sustainable human development in the Caribbean.

As a contribution to the Management Plan for the Portland Bight Protected Area fish vendors and about thirty fishers experienced in the four major methods of fishing (nets, traps, hand-lines and spear-guns) were interviewed. The interviews were conducted on fishing-beaches at Hellshire, Old Harbour Bay, Welcome Beach, Mitchell Town, Portland Cottage and Rocky Point. The data gathered will make the socio-economic and cultural implications of decisions that may be taken by the Portland Bight Fisheries Management Council clearer. A final report was submitted at the end of 1999.

Socio-economic data from the fishing communities of Half-Moon Bay and Old Harbour Bay were compiled and analysed for UNESCO by the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation in January 1999. A further socio-economic survey of some 3 000 households in the twelve Portland Bight coastal communities of Cockpit, Bratt’s Hill, Tarentum, Salt River, Braziletto Settlement, Mitchell Town, Portland Cottage, Jackson's Bay, Rocky Settlement, Longwood, Mumby and Carlise Bay was conducted. It will also contribute to the Portland Bight Management Plan. Statistical analysis of sample data for Hellshire/Old Harbour Bay has been completed, the rest is in preparation. The first of a series of reports was completed in 2000, providing a baseline for further studies. Several articles on the Portland Bight Protected Area appeared in the Jamaica Gleaner in 1999 and 2000. The project co-coordinator visited UNESCO headquarters in May 2000 to discuss project developments.

A paper on ‘Co-management in marine protected areas / Portland Bight-Jamaica’ was posted on the web-based ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development’ Forum in July 1999. A report on the forum ‘Work in Progress 2’ /  ‘Progrès Accomplis 2’ / ‘Avance de Actividades 2’ was published in November 2000. One person from Jamaica contributed to the report. Papers on protected areas in Jamaica were posted in September and October 2002: ‘Protected Area Management in Jamaica’ and ‘Community Policing in the Portland Bight Protected Area, Jamaica’. 

One person from Jamaica attended the meeting of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) held in Samoa in December 2000. This workshop on ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Small Island Living’ and an Open Day brought the CSI project workers together. Discussion centred on project assessment and interaction with university chairs and the internet-based forum. The results of the workshop were published as CSI papers 9 (2001) ‘Wise Coastal Practices Towards Sustainable Small-Island Living’. The participant from Jamaica presented a paper on the Portland Bight project.

Two people from Jamaica attended a workshop on ‘Furthering Coastal Stewardship in Small Islands’ held in Dominica in July 2001. The results were published as CSI papers 11 ‘Wise Practices for Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Small Islands’. One of the Jamaican participants presented a paper on the Portland Bight Protected Area, the other gave a more general paper on communication and stewardship.

A summary of the field project on ‘Sustainable Livelihoods for Artisanal Fishers Through Stakeholder Co-management in the Portland Bight Protected Area’ was compiled in March 2001. In July that year three experts visited the area to assess the project on the basis of 16 wise practice characteristics, and to help to decide its future direction.

As an activity of the ‘Managing Beach Resources and Planning for Coastline Change, Caribbean Islands’ project (old name ‘Coast and Beach Stability in the Eastern Caribbean (COSALC) project’) a training workshop on beach monitoring for several environmental NGOs was held in Jamaica in September 2001.  As a result one of the NGOs in Montego Bay started their own beach monitoring programme.  Coping with Beach Erosion’ (published as Coastal Management Sourcebook 1) was provided to workshop participants. 

A resource book for schools of the Caribbean region ‘Glimpses of the Blue Caribbean’ was published jointly with the Associated Schools Project (ASP), as CSI papers 5, in 2000. A teacher from Jamaica participated in the ASPNet-CSI Sandwatch workshop in St. Lucia in May 2001; schools from Jamaica are involved in Sandwatch beach monitoring activities.

Community policing is one of the goals of the Portland Bight Protected Area project. Between 1996 and 2002 some fifty Honourary Game Wardens and Fisheries Inspectors have been recruited from fisheries associations in the Portland Bight Protected Area. As their goal is compliance with regulations, they have given numerous warnings, but they also have a 100% conviction rate in cases that have gone to court - another reason to comply with the law. In 2002, as an experiment in self-policing, fisheries associations in the Portland Bight Protected Area drew-up draft fisheries management regulations. These were re-drafted into law by the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and approved by the Portland Bight Fisheries Conference in June 2002. They now await the signature of the Minister of the Environment.

The Small Islands Voice project started in January 2002. Its goals are to overcome the isolation of small islands by providing their citizens, including young people, with opportunities to voice their opinions on environmental and development issues in a variety of ways: radio, television, print and Internet-based debate. In this way they will: be able to contribute to the 10-year review of the ‘Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Islands Developing States’ adopted in Barbados in 1994; and play a more effective role in decision-making in their islands. Jamaica is one of the island states involved in the project through the Small Islands Voice Internet-based global forum; correspondents from Jamaica have directly participated in the forum.

A paper ‘Coastal Land Tenure: A Small-Islands’ Perspective’ was published in March 2003. The situation in Jamaica was compared with that in other small island states and territories.

 

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