JET celebrates Goat Islands being declared a wildlife sanctuary
The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) is celebrating the decision by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) to declare the Goat Islands in the Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA) as a wildlife sanctuary for endemic and endangered species.
JET says the decision was communicated in a letter from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) yesterday.
As a consequence of the declaration, NEPA has entered into a co-management arrangement with the UDC to manage the Goat Islands, which they will also establish as a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO’s Biosphere Programme.
In 2014, the Goat Islands was thrust into the spotlight following the announcement that the Portia Simpson Miller administration had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese interests to construct a transhipment port at the site.
However, due to vigorous opposition from JET, along with managers of the PBPA, the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (CCAM), and others through a Save Goat Islands campaign, those plans were scrapped.
In ailing the decision, outgoing JET CEO Diana McCaulay says the Goat Islands are a special part of Jamaica's heritage and is home to endemic species such as the Jamaican Iguana.