About the TrustA little about who we are and how we're set up
The Montego Bay Marine Park Trust was established in 1991 after nearly thirty years of conservation advocacy to oversee Jamaica’s first marine park through the sustainable management of marine and coastal resources.
As a membership-based organization, the Trust is led by an elected Board of Directors and managed by a professional staff that works alongside public and private partners to raise environmental awareness and promote stewardship while protecting and restoring this national treasure. The Trust is tasked with managing a 15 square kilometer park and two Special Fishery Conservation Areas in Jamaica’s tourism capital and home to over 100,000 residents.
The Trust is an environmental Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and registered non-profit in compliance with The Charities Act, 2013.
Throughout the 1960’s, famed underwater explorer, Jacques Cousteau made a habit of exploring the shallow water reefs just outside of Montego Bay. Along the likes of Harry Belafonte, JFK, and other celebrities who found respite in the tranquil coves of The Bay, Cousteau helped fuel MoBay’s popularity as a top-rate dive destination.
As the city’s population grew, however, the dive community began to notice that the health of surrounding reefs were declining. Fishermen were also growing increasingly alarmed by their deteriorating catches. Preliminary studies were launched and indicated that coastal development, water pollution and unsustainable fishing practices were largely to blame.
Immediate intervention was needed – but not quick to come.
After years of grass-roots lobbying, a small protected area was declared off the popular Doctor’s Cave Beach in 1974. Though important, it neglected the broader seascape of fringing reefs, mangrove wetlands and sea-grass beds that were truly responsible for making the area unique.
In a promising move, the Bogue Lagoon was established as a Fish Sanctuary in 1979. This afforded legal protection to a significant tract of mangrove wetlands and fish nurseries, but left to self-regulation, it failed to demonstrate the intended spillover effects. In the face of continuing deterioration (and community skepticism as to the benefits of conservation), the international dive press fingered government inaction as the cause of coral decline. In the face of a rapidly crumbling industry, the local dive community launched a frontal assault for the establishment of a larger, more meaningful, and actively managed protected area.
After decades of fits and starts, Jamaica’s first national park was created in 1992, along with the Trust who was to oversee its management. By 1996, the Natural Resources and Conservation Authority (NRCA) had delegated management of the Park to the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust under an innovative co-management agreement.
With this responsibility, came with the expectation that the Trust would also generate the financing needed to run the park. While some support was derived from intermittent projects (USAID and World Bank), the Government of Jamaica could only provide limited financial assistance. Vacillating support has obligated the Trust to subsidize its own work through fund-raising, projects and annually renewable management agreements with key partners.
As the local steward of public protected areas, the Trust maintains collaborative partnerships with the Government of Jamaica, including the National Environment and Planning Authority (NEPA) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. This partnership is cemented through Memoranda of Understanding and guided by annual work plans that help align the Trust’s work with national objectives and international treaties. These agreements also serve as the basis for the Trust’s formal appointment as Marine Park and Fish Sanctuary Manager.
An abbreviated timeline..
Board of Directors
Chairman: Blaise Hart – Businessman/Owner, Good Hope Plantation
Vice-Chairman: Robert McKinney – Environmental Engineer, Rose Hall Developments
Secretary: Natasha Parchment-Clarke – Entrepreneur and Consultant
- Dr. Roy McGreggor – Surgeon
- Orville Grey – Environmental Manager, MBJ Airport
- Wayne McKenzie – CEO, Jamaica Energy Partners
- Dr. Geoffrey Williams – Physician, Former NRCA Board Member
- Shaun Henriques, Esq. – Legal Counsel
- Delwin Rochester – Board Member, JHTA
Annual General Meeting
Each year the Trust holds Annual General Meetings to evaluate accomplishments, set new objectives, and hold elections. As a membership-based organization, the Trust invites new membership applications as a prerequisite to participating in AGMs.
Management, Administration and Programs
The Trust’s program, management and administrative team is responsible for developing the plans, securing the financing, and generating the involvement that helps us attain our mission.
Executive Director/Park Manager
Mr. Shim – Artist, musician and visionary joins the park after an illustrious career as a senior administrator with Jamaica’s Tourism Product Development Corporation.
A graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mr. Bailey develops outreach and educations programs on behalf of the park. A newly minted SCUBA Instructor, Mr. Bailey also coaches Montego Bay’s swim team in his free time.
A recent graduate of the University of the West indies, Ms. Forrester joined the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust in 2015 and spearheads the Trust’s scientific monitoring program.
While all of our staff are involved in outreach and awareness building, our Park Rangers are authorized officers under the Marine Park Regulations and represent the front-line of the Trust’s enforcement role. Their duties are carried out on the water, under the water and throughout the community. Accordingly, Park Rangers have undergone extensive training in Life Guard Certification, Coxwain Licensing, SCUBA certification and law enforcement.
While each Ranger has his or her own personal strengths, Rangers are regularly called upon for educational presentations, search and rescue missions, field support activities, and in response to breaches of the Park Regulations.