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FFP, fisherfolk, Marine Police partner for beach clean-up

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A major pre-Easter holiday clean-up of the Hunts Bay Fishing Beach and Complex last week Monday was deemed a success by the residents.

According to a release from Food For The Poor (FFP) Jamaica, more than 50 people participated in the initiative, which saw the charity organisation partnering with the Hunts Bay Benevolent Fishermen Friendly Society, the Marine Police Division, fishermen, vendors, and residents for the clean-up.

According to the release, the community effort was not only a boost for the environment, but also enhanced economic opportunities for the fishermen and vendors at the beach.

It is hoped that the clean-up just before the Easter holiday will encourage more customers to come and buy their fish for the season, the release said.

The clean-up reportedly yielded 180 bags of garbage, holding approximately 5,500 pounds of trash — the majority being plastics and styrofoam.

One fisherman, Michael Latchman, was elated.

“Everybody cooperated today (last week Monday),” he enthused. “We worked together and we now have a clean environment — that is the environment we want to see.”

Another fisherman, Mark Lawrence, added: “The customers come in now and they have no complaints. They feel welcome.”

FFP Jamaica’s Manager of Fisheries Sherrn Barker pointed out that the “fishermen complain about the garbage, which drifts around Kingston Harbour from the gullies.”

The solid waste pollution directly affects the fishers’ livelihoods while degrading the marine environment, he noted.

Pollution in Kingston Harbour, the release said, is recognised as an ongoing environmental concern affecting people’s lives, which needs to be addressed over the long term.

“We see nets coming up with more garbage than fish in them. This is a major concern for us. Today’s clean-up shows what working together can accomplish great things,” Corporal Andr Clarke of the Marine Police Division said.

The fishermen and vendors have pledged to maintain the cleanliness of the beach and were provided with tools, extra garbage bags and bins, as well as refreshments during the day, the release said.

Meanwhile, Barker is encouraging the public to support the Hunts Bay Fishing Village, which is located on the corner of Portmore Causeway and Dyke Road, by purchasing fresh local catches from the established vendors.

“They have good quality fish, caught outside the harbour,” he noted.

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