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Massive upgrade planned for St Catherine fishing beach

Published:Thursday | February 11, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Rasbert Turner, Gleaner Writer


THE OLD Harbour Bay Fishing Beach in St Catherine has been slated to receive a $350-million upgrade, courtesy of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

During the groundbreaking ceremony held at the fishing beach yesterday, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Dr Christopher Tufton said the work planned for the facility will increase the standards on the ground.

The upgrade, which will include the reconstruction of the market house, the fishing shed and bathroom facilities, is scheduled to be completed over a six-month period.

Tufton said a cleaner fishing beach would allow people who work there to earn more money and offer more comfortable surroundings to customers.

Two-pronged aim

The upgrade stems from a project being carried out by the agriculture ministry, the Canadian International Development Agency and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.

The project has two goals including the expansion of greenhouse production and the encouragement of sustainable management of the marine fisheries sector, through the construction of proper infrastructure.

In addition to Old Harbour Bay, other facilities to be upgraded are Calabash Bay in St Elizabeth; Rocky Point in Clarendon; Black River Fishing Beach in St Elizabeth; the Negril Fishing Beach and the Savanna-la-Mar Fishing Beach, both in Westmoreland. All projects are scheduled to be completed by 2011.

Kevin Baker, president of the Old Harbour Bay Fisherfolk Council, said that for more than 35 years sections of the beach have run down.

"We thank the ministry for the partnership. There was a time when people would come here, roast fish and dip it in the sea. However, that changed, as the water is polluted," Baker said.