Better Beaches for Jamaicans (BBFJ)
Jamaica has 87 public bathing beaches which are designated for the use and enjoyment of the Jamaican people by the Government of Jamaica. Public bathing beaches not only provide opportunities for recreation and the enjoyment of nature, but they are also important sources of income generation for Jamaicans, via cook shops, water sports and other recreational activities. Jamaica also has over 120 fishing beaches, where fishers land their catch and sell the fish. Some public beaches are designated as both bathing beaches and fishing beaches, but the two categories are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Jamaicans are concerned that they are losing access to public beaches, as more and more hotels and other types of infrastructure are built along the coast.
According to Jamaica’s draft Beach Policy (2000), public beaches in Jamaica are generally poorly managed. Threats include beach erosion, theft of sand, illegal developments,informal settlements, removal or degradation of important natural resources (seagrass beds, wetlands, coral reefs), pollution by solid waste and/or poorly treated sewage, poaching of threatened wildlife (sea turtles, crocodiles, etc.), and over-fishing.
The Better Beaches for Jamaicans (BBFJ) project (2016 – 2017) promoted access to beaches and improve the management and ecological health of three Jamaican public bathing beaches through improved local community management and an islandwide beach network. With funding from the Irwin Andrew Porter Foundation, JET trained local community groups on their legal rights, basic business administration, customer service, environmental conservation and beach safety and sanitation. The project also campaigned for a coherent and comprehensive policy framework for Jamaican beaches, including access rights and public participation in decision making.
JET submitted a petition with over 2,000 signatures to Jamaican Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, asking the government to guarantee better beaches for all Jamaicans! View our petition here.
Check out our booklet on Better Beach Management for Jamaican Communities here.
To learn more, click here to join the Big Up Wi Beach! network.