This sanctuary (designated in 2009) is Jamaica's largest, encompassing 3,054 acres and covering 6.5 miles of Jamaica’s south-western coastline. Its surrounding communities are home to some 25,000 persons, 400 of whom are fishers. This protected area includes mangroves, seagrass beds, coral reef and artificial reef units. These provide ideal habitats for fish to use as nurseries before migrating out of the sanctuary. It is also rich in culture and history and offers a number of community-based tourism activities for visitors.
The sanctuary is managed by the Bluefield’s Bay Fishermen’s Friendly Society (BBFFS). The Society was created in 2004, born from the fishermen’s need to recover from the effects of Hurricane Ivan. Since then it has been responsible for numerous environmental and social projects surrounding the SFCA including housing, construction of new boats, office creation, improvement of basic schools, development of loan schemes, environmental training and more. It is a management body dedicated to improving the livelihoods of the surrounding people and are considered one of the most successful community-based organisations in Jamaica.
Photos: View overlooking the sanctuary from Belmont Beach, home of the BBFFS (above, B. Berry); BBFFS President Livingston Thompson (right, B. Berry).
Through a C-FISH partnership, Bluefields Bay has been able to:
- Purchased their own patrol boat with equipment, trailer and two (2) engines. This has resulted in improved enforcement and a mutually benefiical relationship with the marine police. Please see our Press Release on Patrol Boats.
- Hired an additional three (3) wardens, and one (1) supervisor to increase enforcement and management effectiveness.
And soon to come:
- Fifty (50) rolls of 0.04m (1½”) mesh wire to conduct an exchange with fishers who are currently still using the illegal 0.03m (1”) mesh size.