Correction & Clarification
The story titled ‘NRCA Reopens Beach Licence Applications’ published on March 20, 2013 stated incorrectly that the Natural Resources Conservation Authority had withdrawn its former statement on the suspension of beach licence applications. The agency did not suspend general beach licence applications, and so did not withdraw a suspension. However, there is a moratorium, which is still in place, on beach licences relating to the application of ShoreLock beach restoration technology. We regret the error.
The Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) has 12 applications for beach licences under consideration.
Beach licences are granted by the Beach Control Authority, a unit of the NRCA, for purposes such as commercial/recreational development, construction and maintenance of groynes, breakwaters, seawall, slipways, pylons, capital and maintenance dredging and coastline reclamation, according to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) the parent of NRCA.
There are currently 244 entities and/or persons holding beach licences valid to March 31. Licences are renewed yearly.
NEPA notes this figure only represents that number of licensees and not the actual number of licences, as a single licensee may be the holder of several permits for a single property.
"Our beaches act is an important source of income for persons in the tourism and fisheries industry. Loss of beaches will significantly impact both industries as well as the country's GDP, which depends heavily on both sectors. They are also natural resources of significant aesthetic and recreational value, as well as habitat for many species; some of which are endangered animals, for example, sea turtles," said NEPA.
The agency is spending J$12.3 million on new technology from Hydros Coastal Solutions, the developer of a ShoreLock beach restoration product, to restore 750 metres of beach along Long Bay Beach Park in Negril and at Font Hill, St Elizabeth.
The NRCA has issued three beach licences for application of the ShoreLock product but has placed a moratorium on the issuing of new licences for ShoreLock pending the results of pilot tests on the product.
The general beach licence applications currently under consideration by BCA/NRCA include commercial/recreational uses of the foreshore and floor of the sea and construction and maintenance of encroachments — seawalls, pylons and dredging — on the foreshore and floor of the sea.