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Jamaica

Portland Bight Protected Area

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Conservation benefit: Establishing a field office and barracks, and equipment for enforcement of the 460,000-acre Portland Bight Protected Area

Date Approved: 05.2010

Forest

This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

Mangroves

This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

Ocean

This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Seagrass

This project protects seagrass, which traps more CO2 than any other marine ecosystem, slowing global warming.

The Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA) was created by the Jamaican government in 1999, and is the country’s largest protected area. The coastline includes the largest mangrove system in Jamaica, which together with extensive seagrass beds and coral reefs, likely contains the largest nursery area for fish and shellfish on the island. The land area includes 81 square miles of dry limestone forests and 32 square miles of wetlands. These areas are of high conservation value due to the numbers of vulnerable and endemic species that live there. Overlooking Portland Bight are three tropical dry forests, including the largest remaining area of intact dry limestone forest in Jamaica, where 271 plant species have been identified, including 53 that are endemic and found nowhere else on Earth. The PBPA is also home to 44 communities with a total of 50,000 inhabitants. The area also contains the highest concentration of fishers in Jamaica.

The government Fisheries Division is in the process of creating no-take fish sanctuaries, and has charged the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM) with managing the areas within the PBPA. Newly hired and specially trained professional rangers will monitor and enforce the new Fish Sanctuaries.

Seacology is providing funding for a new office, barracks, field station, and enforcement equipment for to assist C-CAM and the new rangers in their efforts.

Project Updates

June 2012

The field station project was completed in early 2012 after a number of extensions and a further grant from Seacology. The project has benefitted from substantial contributions from the community, who gave in cash and in kind. The field station is comprised of a number of retrofitted shipping containers and there is a semi-covered auditorium/meeting area, observation deck, water quality laboratory, equipment storage, formal meeting room, control centre, manager’s office, barracks with bathroom and kitchen. The station was used for a community event to celebrate World Wetlands Day, and more recently, in April, the field station had its official opening. The field station was dedicated in the memory of the past chairman of CCAM, Professor Aggrey Brown, and a number of partners, community members, and government representatives including the Minister of State for fisheries attended.

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June 2011

The agreement for the hosting of the field office between the Yacht & Gun club and the C-CAM board has been executed. The site for the field office has been prepared and the foundation laid. The shipping containers have been modified to include the cut outs for the windows, doors and passages between the containers, and were placed on the foundation in May 2011. Construction materials have been procured using the grant and a number of significant contributions of materials have been received and discounts for services obtained in connection with the project. The project is expected to be on budget and completed as scheduled in June 2011.

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May 2011

Construction of the field office and barracks is under way. To save resources, the buildings are being built using recycled shipping containers.

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