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Windalco to the rescue - Company spending millions to save reef

Published:Wednesday | April 25, 2012 | 12:00 AM


LOCAL BAUXITE mining company Windalco has committed $9.5 million to finance an artificial reef project at the Three Bays Fish Sanctuary in the Portland Bight Protected Area.

The company has signed an agreement with the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAMF) to fully fund the project at the sanctuary where its shipping facility, Port Esquivel, is located.

Protection and monitoring

According to Alicia Burnett, Windalco's environment, health and safety manager, the project will be implemented in three phases.

"In the first phase, there will be mobilisation of the resources and the commencement of the coral nursery. In the second phase, the artificial reef will be built and installed, and the third phase focuses on monitoring," said Burnett.

She added that while the project will be managed by C-CAMF, Windalco will maintain its involvement through its support of the public-education efforts.

Windalco's sponsorship will fund the boundary demarcation, installation of a coral nursery, the purchase of materials for and construction of bio-reef units, as well as monitoring and maintenance activities.

In welcoming the sponsorship, C-CAM's Executive Director Ingrid Parchment noted that overfishing is a major concern for Jamaica, along with reef degradation as a result of climate change and other factors.

"We will be able to improve and increase the fish stock in Jamaica so the fishers will have bigger fishes (in larger quantities) to catch," said Parchment.