First underwater sculpture park in development in Montego Bay
As part of a project developed as part of a partnership between the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust in St. James and Smilozone Waste Management Ltd., a new tourist attraction is being built in Montego Bay. Hugh Shim, executive director of a new underwater marine park, described the attraction as featuring a “Jamaican-style mermaid sculpture village” made of glass. The underwater sculpture park, the first of its kind in the region, is also designed to create a habitat for marine life and draw attention to the marine and coastal environment. A 500-pound mermaid sculpture has already been completed and will be the first figure installed at the Montego Bay Marine Park, which is located on nearly 16 square kilometers (more than six square miles) of mixed-use marine protected area.
Shim added that the park has two goals: the sculptures will eventually become coral reefs or habitats for marine life, and the park will provide a unique new tourist attraction unlike any other on the island. Individuals and organizations have been invited to participate in the Initiative, which is likely to improve the health of the marine reef ecosystem over time. Shim noted that the project takes a creative approach to volunteering and anyone who can swim is welcome to join and become one of its “living mermaids”.
According to Khimaja Connell, senior lecturer in the Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy at the University of the West Indies Mona, the creation of an underwater sculpture park will be welcomed as an addition to Montego Bay’s marine environment. Developing a sculpture park with a mermaid story is a creative way to draw attention to the environment, Connell said, praising the park for undertaking a project that encourages people to think more about what that happens to the ocean environment.
Montego Bay is home to three Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), including the Montego Bay Marine Park, the Bogue Island Lagoon Fisheries Special Area (Bogue Lagoon), and the Montego Bay Marine Park Fisheries Special Area ( Airport Point). MPAs are designed to balance the social and economic needs of the community while protecting national resources for future generations. The resources are administered by the National Environmental Protection Agency and the Fisheries Division.
Established in 1991, the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust oversees the day-to-day management of marine and coastal resources in Jamaica’s first marine park. The Trust is membership-based and works with the Jamaican government, the National Environment and Planning Authority (NEPA) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Photo – Deposit Photos