MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (Wednesday, June 29, 2022) — The Montego Bay Marine Park Trust in St. James, plans to establish Jamaica’s first underwater sculpture park, aimed at further promoting awareness about the marine and coastal environment.
Addressing a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, at the agency’s Regional Office in Montego Bay, St. James, yesterday, Executive Director of the Marine Park, Hugh Shim, said the project is being jointly developed with Smilozone Waste Management Limited.
He indicated that the underwater attraction will entail a village, depicting “Jamaican-type mermaid” sculptures, made of glass.
A 226.796-kilogram (500-pound) mermaid figure has already been crafted and will be the first sculpture installed.
Shim pointed out that the park will serve to create a habitat for marine life, as well as act as a new tourism attraction in the city.
“The sculpture park has two real purposes. One, these sculptures become coral reefs eventually, or they become habitats for marine life. The other part is the tourism aspect. It would be a new attraction and there wouldn’t be any other like it in Jamaica,” he said.
The executive director invited individuals and organisations to be part of the initiative, which is poised to enhance the health of the reef and ecosystem, over the ensuing years.
“We try to be as creative as we can on volunteerism. So, anybody who can swim, you’re welcome to come and be one of our live mermaids,” he said.
Mona, Khimaja Connell, a lecturer of Philosophy in the Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy at the University of the West Indies (UWI), said the creation of an underwater sculpture park will be a welcome addition to Montego Bay’s marine environment.
“Having a sculpture park, with a mermaid story, is a creative way to bring attention to the environment. I really commend the marine park for embarking on this [initiative] that helps us to think more about what is happening, especially in the ocean,” Connell added.
The Montego Bay Marine Park encompasses nearly 16 square kilometers of mixed-use marine protected area (MPA), beginning at the high-tide mark on the land, and extending to the 100-metre depth at sea.
The eastern boundary is Tropical Beach, adjacent to the Sangster International Airport, and the western boundary is Rum Bottle Bay, a point close to the Great River.