MoBay Marine Park gets J$4 million glass-bottom boat
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:THE MONTEGO BAY Marine Park was last week officially presented with a J$4 million glass-bottom boat thanks to the combined generosity of the Caribbean Public Health Agency, Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions, (CATS) and the German government.
Hugh Shim, the executive director of the Montego Bay Marine Park, said the boat, which has been in use since June this year, was a welcome addition to the marine park's fleet of vessels as it greatly enhances its ability to fulfil its mandate.
"We use it in all three areas of the park's activities; enforcement, which includes patrol; research for educational purposes, and economically, as we host outdoor classrooms and then we take them (students) out on the boat ... so it's a full package."
Shim told The Gleaner that part of the economic activity that the marine park would be seeking to implement was the offering of culling of the lion fish as an attraction.
"As soon as we can get the appropriate licence from JTB (Jamaica Tourist Board), we will start offering it commercially," Shim said.
good financial management systems
Robert Kerr, programme director of CATS, said the objective of giving the boat to the marine park was to assist in the protected environmental area while promoting financial sustainable management of areas under the marine park's control.
"We want to assist them to establish good financial management systems and to encourage them to create ways of earning that they can meet their operational costs; which is not the case now," said Kerr.
Joshua Bailey, outreach officer at the Montego Bay Marine Park, said the boat, which was donated since June of this year, has boosted the park's activities and it is now better able to patrol the park area and ensure its protection and conservation.
"We have confiscated over 40 different items including spear guns and nets being used illegally as we have improved patrol hours from eight to 16 hours, due in a big way to the vessel that we have received," said Bailey. "We also undertook a lion fish monitoring project from which we gathered information on this invasive species, which we have begun to share with other agencies."
The Montego Bay Marine Park was established in 1992 with the main aim to protect, restore and conserve a healthy Montego Bay ecosystem for the betterment of Jamaica and the world.