During his current visit to China, the Minister of Environment (no less) said he was giving serious consideration to a proposal from the Chinese government to construct a logistics hub in Jamaica‘s largest protected area, the Portland Bight. (He is also the Minister of Land, Water and Climate Change, by the way). This bolt from the blue prompted an urgent press conference held by C-CAM (the NGO that administers the area), the Jamaica Environment Trust and civil society supporters on August 22. JET plans to launch a legal challenge. The area is protected through a 1999 law. The issue has sparked tremendous concern in civil society and on the social media. Here is an article I wrote only 16 months ago about the establishment of a C-CAM field office to administer two fish sanctuaries, with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and a California-based organization as well as UC Rusal, owners of the nearby bauxite plant. These fish sanctuaries would likely be destroyed by the proposed Chinese project, sanctioned it seems by the Minister of Environment itself, despite his own government’s support for it just LAST YEAR. Well, as they say, “Go figure!” and please share widely.
- Jamaica gov’t minister says China hopes to build new port in island’s biggest protected area (foxnews.com)
- China may build port in Jamaica protected area (omaha.com)
- Belatedly: August 21, 2013 (petchary.wordpress.com)
Earth Day approaches (Sunday, April 22), and yesterday we attended an event that was more a Song of the Sea than of the Earth. We attended the opening of a field office, to be administered by the Caribbean Coastal Area Conservation Foundation (C-CAM), in Salt River, Clarendon.
The sparkling new green and white building is to be C-CAM’s base for patrols of three Fish Sanctuaries in the surrounding wetlands (Three Bays, Salt Harbour and Galleon Harbour). There are six other sanctuaries across the island. C-CAM’s Executive Director Ingrid Parchment hopes the field office will become a complete “green building” in the near future, one of a kind in the parish.
And Jamaica’s fish stock is declining drastically. The island is one of the most over-fished areas in the world. When we used to eat at Gloria’s, a well-known fish restaurant in Port Royal…
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