CMA CGM subsidiary in Jamaica, the Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL) has once again displayed its environmental stewardship by sponsoring two projects that will improve the fisheries resource of the Kingston Harbour. The projects, the ‘Refuge Cay Mangrove Cleanup and Restoration’ and the ‘Port Royal Cays Coral Reef Rehabilitation,’ are being implemented in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI) Centre for Marine Sciences and the Port Royal Marine Laboratory.
Over 4,200 bags of garbage were collected over four weeks as part of the ‘Refuge Cay Mangrove Restoration’ project, since the cleaning began on January 8, 2018. Following the removal of the heavy build-up of solid waste from Refuge Cay, mangrove seedlings will be planted and garbage barriers installed to prevent further garbage build up. Any further garbage that gathers in the barriers will also be regularly removed and disposed.
In Jamaica, the Refuge Cay is home to numerous species of birds and also serves as a nursery area and feeding ground for a variety of fish species. Over the years, a large quantity of garbage accumulated on the cay which limited the flushing of sea water through the mangroves. Consequently, the cay became hypersaline causing a “dead zone” to develop at its centre. Since the cay has never been cleaned, this project is of major significance and is intended to be a catalyst for similar initiatives.
According to Professor of Marine Biology, Mona Webber, PhD., who is also Director at the Centre for Marine Sciences at UWI, “mangroves are natural filters cleaning our waters, they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (helping to mitigate climate change) and they support birds and other wild life. It is therefore a tremendous partnership between KFTL, UWI and the men and women of Port Royal and Kingston Harbour who are trying to save an area on which we all depend.”
KFTL and UWI have also partnered on another project, the Port Royal Cays Coral Reef Rehabilitation, which will be implemented over a five year period and will feature the design, installation and monitoring of artificial reef structures on the Port Royal Barrier Reef. Preliminary diving visits have already been conducted.
According to Chanelle Fingal Robinson, PhD., Social Impact Specialist at KFTL, “both projects will not only benefit the environment but also financially benefit the Kingston Harbour fisherfolk through potentially creating alternative livelihoods such as ecotourism.” For the Refuge Cay project, for instance, over 20 persons from the Port Royal community, most of whom are fisherfolk, have been contracted to clean the area.
These two initiatives form part of KFTL’s wider Corporate Social Responsibility efforts and are aimed at enhancing the quality of the Kingston Harbour, which is the 7th largest natural harbour in the world.