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Observations and opinions of Montegonian interest

In Praise of Wetlands

…for life and profit Friday, February 2, is World Wetlands Day. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention, an international agreement to preserve and restore the world’s wetlands, river deltas and flood plains. This year’s theme is Wetlands for...

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Making Waves

Earthquake Awareness Week has come and gone. So has the short-lived panic caused by the January 9/10 tsunami threat. There was no tsunami, and Jamaica’s last “serious” earthquake happened in 2005. History suggests that in the absence of immediate danger, the nation...

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Restoring Portland Bight

…big dreams, no paperwork In 2016, the Prime Minister assured us the Chinese would not build their planned transshipment port and industrial park in the Portland Bight Protected Area. In mid-December 2017, UDC and NEPA announced their intention to establish a wildlife...

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Portland Bight Revisited

…an iffy gift On December 13 the nation got an early Christmas present. Urban Development Corporation (UDC, the Government land-owner) will establish the Goat Islands in the Portland Bight Protected Area as a “wildlife sanctuary for endemic and endangered species”....

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Shake and Rattle, No Roll

The day before Christmas, there was a major earthquake in the northeastern Caribbean. According to a local (St. Maarten) newspaper: “At 11:13 am the earthquake measuring 5.2 magnitude shook St. Maarten/St. Martin sending residents into a frenzy. The earthquake on...

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Turtles for Christmas

Last week, NEPA issued a press release informing us that the peak period for sea turtle nesting in Jamaica had ended, and the hatching season had begun. Sea turtle eggs hatch 60 – 80 days after they are laid, depending on their species and the weather. This year’s...

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That’s All Folks

… another hurricane season done Last Thursday, November 30, marked the official end of the 2017 Atlantic tropical storm season. It brought us a total of 17 named storms including 10 hurricanes, of which 6 were “major” (Cat. 3 or stronger). Some of these storms were...

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Water, water everywhere

Last week there was some good news and some bad news. First, the good news. Cockpit Country now has a formal boundary, within which no mining will be allowed. On November 21, the Prime Minister announced that the boundaries of the protected area would be those...

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The Short and Colourful Life of Squid

In the movies, squid are huge fierce monsters that wreck ships and fling people around like toys. In fact, the only squid living close to Jamaica’s shores are small, shy and useful. The Caribbean Reef Squid is fun to watch and good to eat (for both fish and people)....

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Sea Cucumbers

…nature’s pool cleaners If you’ve been snorkeling over a sand or mud bottom, you’ve probably seen something on the sea floor that looked like a small moldy loaf of bread. That was a sea cucumber, and it’s not a vegetable. These interesting and useful creatures are...

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Oil on Troubled Waters

… a really bad idea On October 26 Montego Bay had its first serious marine oil spill in a long time. The spill occurred at berths one and two of the Montego Freeport terminal, used by Petrojam. The spill didn’t get much public attention. NEPA briefly acknowledged that...

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In Hot Water

…Why we need storms Ask most Jamaicans how they feel about the absence of even a near miss by a hurricane in the last few years, and they’ll tell you they feel pretty lucky. Ask that same question to somebody with a coral reef to look after, and you might get a...

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