London-based journalist Philippa Jacks writes on her blog, about the Bluefields Bay marine sanctuary project in Jamaica. She describes how destructive fishing methods and growing unemployment have led to greater pressure on Jamaica’s fish stocks, and it is now the most over-fished country in the entire Caribbean. In 2009, she says, the Jamaican government agreed to create nine marine sanctuaries around the country, where fishing would be banned so stocks could regenerate. Jacks stresses the hard work of the Bluefields Bay Fishermen’s Friendly Society and how its president, Wolde Kristos, has the support of almost the entire Bluefields fishing community, “which means the project is much more likely to succeed than if the sanctuary had been imposed without local support.” See excerpts here:
The fishermen at Bluefields are also taking a resourceful approach to the lionfish problem, which is acute here as in many other parts of the Caribbean. The invasive lionfish was introduced accidentally in 1992 and is wiping out reef fish throughout the region. At Bluefields, the lionfish are being caught and sold to a local resort to be served as part of an educational dining experience. “The fishermen get paid for the fish, and to remove the poisonous spines and prepare the fish. Then I give the guests a talk about the lionfish crisis; the guests are always fascinated, and the fish actually tastes quite good,” says Patrick Marti, a Peace Corps volunteer who’s spent two years at Bluefields Bay.
Wolde Kristos’s vision for the sanctuary includes the creation of tourism-related jobs within the sanctuary, such as snorkelling tours, diving, and glass-bottomed boats. He’s even considering an underwater sculpture park, like those that have been so successful in Grenada and Cancun. But in true Wolde style, he plans to put a different spin on the idea by creating a ‘reggae theme park’, with statues of famous faces from Jamaica’s musical heritage. And instead of bringing in an international sculptor, he would look to use local artists and manufacturers – another way of supporting the local community and helping to ensure their support for the marine sanctuary project.
For source of image above and other spectacular photos of Bluefields Bay, see http://bluefieldsvillas.com/