At the White River Fish Sanctuary (the WRFS) we recognize that our best chance of restoring fish populations and coral reefs is to partner with those persons most connected to the Sea: local fishermen. By protecting 150 acres of marine space in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, the WRFS has provided fishermen with meaningful work as wardens (10) and coral gardeners (2) since 2017. With your support, the fishermen can continue their new found passion while providing opportunities for the community.
The significant decline in marine-life and coral reefs' health around the island of Jamaica has taken a toll on the local fishing economy, the eco-tourism industry, and places Jamaica, as an island dependant on its surrounding coral reefs, at risk. The White River Fish Sanctuary faces challenges of fishermen in the sanctuary, invasive and disruptive species, stronger and more frequent extreme weather due to human-induced climate change, and coastal/river pollution affecting marine-life recovery.
The WRFS, through our motto of Protect. Restore. Engage, we will ensure that the fishermen continue to be provided educational opportunistic through workshops on climate change, literacy, health and wellbeing; as well as schools in the area. Growing reef-building corals contribute to restoring biodiversity and strengthening resiliency to severe weather events. Therefore, we have expanded our gardening of reef-building coral, to include Acropora Palmata (also known as Elkhorn Coral).
Our sanctuary is a community driven marine management tool which will continue to provide opportunities for fishermen and the greater community through conservation, community outreach, research and maintenance of our infrastructure. In 2022 the WRFS will do another reef survey to see if we have met our goal of 500% fish increase (size and populations) in five years, since 2017 (currently in year 4). The WRFS plans to continue its work until the balance of the marine ecosystem is restored.
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