First Look

Envisioning the Pedro Bank’s Future



Jamaica Environment Trust | 2014-10-08 00:00:00

Fifty years from now what do you hope to see on the Pedro Bank? This was one of many questions posed to fishers on the Pedro Cays and from South Coast fishing villages, government officials, academics, community-based organizations and other marine stakeholders over the past five months as part of a visioning and data collection exercise to plan for the future of the Pedro Bank. 

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is leading the first ever sea space use discussions on the unique Pedro Bank and Cays. These consultations and the resulting plan will plot out the uses of the sea space by the numerous users and determine how both its protection for both sustainable fishing resources and unique marine biodiversity can be achieved.

“It is definitely needed for the Pedro Bank. As fishermen we often feel neglected, as if nobody cares, but it is good to see all these people from the different agencies come together to protect the environment and our livelihoods. I am glad to be part of this,” said Pedro fisher, Tassady Mowatt. 

Located approximately 80 kilometers southwest of Jamaica, the Pedro Bank is roughly 8,000 km2 and contains the country’s most important fishing grounds. The Pedro Cays provide critical habitat for a number of seabirds as well as a base for fishers. The Bank itself was declared a National underwater monument due to a large number of 16-19th century shipwrecks and more recently, has been the site of oil exploration. Due to its biological and economic importance to the fishing industry, in 2012 a Fish Sanctuary was declared around Southwest Cay and the wider Pedro Bank was declared an Ecological or Biological Significant Marine Area (EBSA) under the United Nation’s Convention of Biological Diversity. The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are currently developing a framework for a marine multi-use zoning plan for the Pedro Bank to increase the network of protected areas and manage activities occurring on the Pedro Bank and Cays. 

Two sets of planning workshops were held, along with visits to the Pedro Cays and to South Coast fishing communities. The first workshops were held (June 26th and 27th) and participants included representatives from Government agencies, the Jamaica Fishermen's Coop Union, Birds Caribbean, the University of the West Indies, the Jamaica Fish Sanctuary Network, Jamaica Environment Trust, CaribSave, The Nature Conservancy, as well as commercial and artisanal fishers. The second workshop took place on September 29th and 30th.

“During the first workshop, the participants identified conservation of biodiversity, regulated fisheries, safe transportation, research for awareness, and the development of future uses of the Bank as guiding visions”, said Mr. Llewelyn Meggs, Conservation Director at the Jamaica Environment Trust. “These visions will be used to identify goals for a marine multi-use space-use plan for the Pedro Bank.” 

This project is made possible through support from the Protected Areas Project being implemented by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) with funding from Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Jamaica (GOJ).
 




Posted By :Jamaica Trust

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