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ef grazers who can usually be expected to keep algae growth in check, were almost wiped

out by a viral disease in the 1980s, which promoted reef death. The reduction of fish
grazers (e.g. parrot fish) due to overfishing has also made a significant contribution to
eutrophication. The widespread use of fishing methods such as dynamite and certain toxic
substances are destructive and avoidable.

Numerous sandy beaches around Jamaica's coastline and on several inshore cays are
invaluable to the tourism industry for the enjoyment of local and foreign visitors. This
resource is under threat from pollution, erosion and illegal sand mining. The erosion of
Jamaica's shoreline may be attributed to several factors. The degradation of coral reefs
and mangrove forests have exposed the sandy beaches to increased wave action, and the
illegal but common practice of mining sand from beaches has exacerbated the problem.
Both recreational and fishing beaches have been fouled by the pileup of refuse, debris
and fish offal, as well as by occasional offshore and nearshore oil spills. The quality of
the water around several recreational beaches is deteriorating due to pollution,
particularly from human waste, which makes sea bathing unpleasant.

fuelwood, to make charcoal, as fence posts, stakes, yamsticks, scaffolding and


construction material. The requirement that permits must be obtained before cutting is
totally ignored, and mangroves are de facto an open access resource. New harvesting
technology (chain saws) has dramatically increased the quantity of timber harvested, and
clear-cutting is making natural regeneration difficult. In addition, wetland areas are still
targets for construction projects.

Jamaica has extensive coral reefs which are important as habitat for a complex mixture of
fish, invertebrates and algae. Jamaica's coral reefs are commercially important for two
main reasons: most of Jamaica's artisanal fishers use traps aimed at capturing reef fish;
and the reefs are important dive sites for water sports operators in the tourism industry.
Recent years have seen extensive degradation of Jamaica's coral reefs, leading to
decreases in fish catches and increases in visitor dissatisfaction. Recent hurricanes
(particularly Allen in 1980 and Gilbert in 1988) have caused major structural damage to
Jamaica's coral reefs. This is an unavoidable occurrence, from which the reefs are
normally able to recover; however other factors are hampering reef restoration. Pollution
of the marine environment by sewage has promoted the growth of algae which are stifling
the coral organisms (eutrophication). The sea urchins, major reef grazers who can usually
be expected to keep algae growth in check, were almost wiped out by a viral disease in
the 1980s, which promoted reef death. The reduction of fish grazers (e.g. parrot fish) due
to overfishing has also made a significant contribution to eutrophication. The widespread
use of fishing methods such as dynamite and certain toxic substances are destructive and
avoidable.

Numerous sandy beaches around Jamaica's coastline and on several inshore cays are
invaluable to the tourism industry for the enjoyment of local and foreign visitors. This
resource is under threat from pollution, erosion and illegal sand mining. The erosion of
Jamaica's shoreline may be attributed to several factors. The degradation of coral reefs

and mangrove forests have exposed the sandy beaches to increased wave action, and the
illegal but common practice of mining sand from beaches has exacerbated the problem.
Both recreational and fishing beaches have been fouled by the pileup of refuse, debris
and fish offal, as well as by occasional offshore and nearshore oil spills. The quality of
the water around several recreational beaches is deteriorating due to pollution,
particularly from human waste, which makes sea bathing unpleasant.

The importance of sea grass beds in the growth cycles of fish, lobsters and other
commercially important species is recognized by scientists but has not been fully
explored. Indeed there is very little information available on the extent and location of
sea grass beds on Jamaica's coastal shelves and (inshore and offshore) banks.

Jamaica's marine environment is notoriously overfished; indeed the CARICOM Fisheries


Resource Assessment and Management

The importance of sea grass beds in the growth cycles of fish, lobsters and other
commercially important species is recognized by scientists but has not been fully
explored. Indeed there is very little information available on the extent and location of
sea grass beds on Jamaica's coastal shelves and (inshore and offshore) banks.

Jamaica's marine environment is notoriously overfished; indeed the CARICOM Fisheries


Resource Assessment and Management