The Jamaica Inn Foundation is heavily involved with setting up a Fish Sanctuary off of our Coast encompassing miles of ocean from East to West of Ocho Rios.
Naturally, the process of setting up a Fish Sanctuary will take all “hands on deck”, which includes stakeholders who are in the areas of the proposed Sanctuary who want to see a thriving fish population as well as a vital coral reef rehabilitation in the next five years.
500 in 5
Creating a Fish Sanctuary will encourage a healthy fish population in our waters and in five years we hope to achieve 500 times more of a fish population!
The mission statement of the stakeholders who are involved in the setup of the Fish Sanctuary is “500 in 5” which simply means that the intention and mission will be to have 500 percent more fish in five years! It sounds like quite a feat, but having a record and proven success of the nearby Oracabessa Fish Sanctuary is what the stakeholders have used as a measuring tool for the overall goal.
This entire initiative started with the Fishermen learning about the success of the Oracabessa Fish Sanctuary and hearing about the increased fish supplies in that area. They went to the “Turtle Whisperer” Mel Tennant, who has also been a huge part of the set up of the nearby Fish Sanctuary in Oracabessa, to ask him for his help. It is at this point upon hearing about the Fishermen’s concerns and interest in setting it up that Jamaica Inn and Hermosa Cove Hotel came on board!
Currently the statistics in Jamaica are not very good in terms of a disappearing fish population, and Jamaica has some of the most depleted fish stocks of any country in the world. Unfortunately fishermen also had to be forced to fish closer to our reefs for the likes of parrot fish and surgeon, which put a strain on the reef system over the years. These fish are critical to sustaining the health of the reef itself. Over time, the coral reef is being harvested and then we become at risk where the entire ecosystem can collapse.
The philosophical and beneficial premise for the future is one that stands to affect many in a most positive way and to that effect, it is not that note that Jamaica Inn Foundation Board members Belinda and Eric Morrow stepped in to commence the setting up of a well needed Fish Sanctuary as what The Oracabessa Foundation have done with setting up the very successful Oracabessa Fish Sanctuary. Kyle Mais, our General Manager, is an avid Diver and lover of the sea; and also has become very passionate about setting it up and there is now a small collection of enthused stakeholders who meet frequently going over all the requirements to get it all up and running very soon.
It will take much work, dedication, many hours, and of course well needed funding to set up not only the Fish Sanctuary but an Office to oversea the management of it, and of course to purchase all the equipment needed to put in the infrastructure. The fish sanctuary set up will also include the rehabilitation of our vital coral reefs, which is a five year plan.
The umbrella effect of funds encompass a broad spectrum under protection, restoration and engagement (this of course includes hiring and educating fish wardens.)
Why set up a Fish Sanctuary? The benefits will be enormous to us all and for our future in Jamaica. In five years we will have five hundred times the amount of fish in our waters, that will be super beneficial again for livelihood and to help restore our reefs to keep fishing limited to only certain places. In Oracabessa fish in the market are three times the size of those in markets in other Parishes! The coral reef rehabilitation project will help restore our beautiful reefs all along the Eastern coastal waters of Ocho Rios.
Just as important, is that it will give our Fishermen viable livelihood and income, and without the nod of approval from this important community, it would have been almost impossible to set up a Sanctuary – so the timing has never been more perfect than now.
As we know more, and set up this important project, we will post more information here. In the meantime, please follow our newly created Jamaica Inn Foundation Facebook Page for more updates.
If you would like to donate to this Project, please see our website for more information, or contact Ella at firstname.lastname@example.org.