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Jamaica Country Profile
Legislative and institutional framework governing the protection of coral reefs

(1) Overview of legislation and institutions
  –  Enforcement of environmental legislation
(2) Designation of marine protected areas (MPAs)
(3) Laws providing explicit protections for coral and other marine life
  –  Table of restricted and prohibited activities
  –  Provisions for nongovernmental research and restoration projects
  –  Enforcement of explicit provisions protecting coral reefs
(4) Coastal zone development and environmental impact assessment (EIA)
Enforcement of coastal zone development and EIA requirements
(5) Other legislation: land-based and marine pollution
(6) Multilateral Environmental Agreements

1. Overview of legislation and institutions
In Jamaica, legislative protections for coral reefs and related marine ecosystems are largely derived from two sources: (a) laws and regulations related to "mainstream" environmental matters (conservation, development planning and oversight, and pollution control) and (b) those pertaining to the management of the nation's fisheries. These two realms are administered under separate government ministries, but overlap with respect to proactive conservation measures and the regulation of activities that pose risks of direct harm to coral reefs, such as the illegal harvesting of corals or activities that may damage reef structures on the sea floor.1 Other legislation, such those protecting beaches, regulating wastewater, or conserving endangered species, play a supplemental role in the conservation of reefs.

In 2001, Jamaica modernized its environmental governance regime by consolidating responsibility for most environmental regulatory functions under a centralized agency, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), now one of 23 agencies and departments under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC). NEPA's core functions include, inter alia, natural resource conservation and management, spatial planning, the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process, policy and program development, and the enforcement of environmental laws and permit conditions.2 The creation of NEPA brought the functions and administration of three existing statutory agencies with interrelated functions under a single umbrella: the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA), the Town and Country Planning Authority (TCPA), and the Land Development & Utilisation Commission (LDUC).3 Within NEPA, each of these authorities has decision-making bodies, with the NRCA (with expertise in environmental considerations) and the TCPA (town and development planning issues) coordinating in decisions to approve or deny permit applications in connection with construction and other development activities.

Although Jamaican legislation had addressed the conservation of marine life in earlier, the legislative basis for the protection of coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangroves was strengthened by the enactment of the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act (NRCA Act) (1991) and its regulations.4 The NRCA Act is a broad piece of legislation that encompasses a range of provisions related to the protection of natural resources—including marine life—and also mandates environmental impact assessments and permits for many types of development activities, including coastal zone construction.5 In addition, the NRCA Act established a tribunal to hear appeals of enforcement actions undertaken in response to violations of the Act.6

Enforcement of environmental legislation
In Jamaica, the enforcement of laws and regulations pertinent to coral reef protection is carried out by a number of government departments, depending on the type of acts or activities that pose a threat to reefs. Although NEPA's purview is broad—all aspects of environmental protection and conservation, the agency may delegate any of its functions established under the NCRA Act to "any member, officer or agent" of NEPA.7 However, NEPA is not empowered to delegate the promulgation of regulations themselves.8 Responsibility for patrolling marine parks and enforcing rules that protect marine life are delegated to enforcement officers (subject to NEPA's oversight), that include the marine park rangers, police, and game wardens, as well as fisheries officers and members of the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard who have been authorized by their departments to perform these roles.9 NEPA staff are more directly involved in enforcing compliance with environmental mitigation and management measures required for approved development projects within the coastal zone. Specific enforcement procedures and sanctions for offenses within these contexts are discussed in the sections below.

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2. Designation of marine protected areas (MPAs)

MPAs under the NCRA Act
Section 5(1)(b) and (c) of the NRCA Act gives the Minister (of Economic Growth and Job Creation) the authority to designate marine protected areas through the enactment of a ministerial order upon recommendation of NEPA, following consultation with the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, if they meet the following criteria:10

  1. any area of land or water as a protected area in which may be preserved any object (whether animate or inanimate) or unusual combination of elements of the natural environment that is of aesthetic, educational, historical or scientific interest; or
  2. any area of land lying under tidal water and adjacent to such land or any area of water as a marine park.

For MPAs and other protected areas, each ministerial order describes the specific coordinates of the boundaries of the designated marine area. The Minister may also declare zones within each protected area for specified uses, such as fishing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, anchoring or mooring, using motorized or non-motorized craft, environmental restoration, "no use" zones, scientific research, and other listed purposes.11

Marine Park Advisory Boards
The Natural Resources (Marine Parks) Regulations (1992, amended in 2003) authorize NEPA to establish Advisory Boards for each MPA.12 Each Board can make recommendations to the NRCA regarding protection of the ecosystems in the marine park, including the following matters (paraphrased for brevity):

  1. Administration, control and preservation of the marine park resources;
  2. Management plans and annual reviews to assure proper operation of the park;
  3. The monitoring of strategies for evaluation of effectiveness; and
  4. The creation of fundraising programs for the park.13

In addition, each Board may recommend persons to serve as marine park rangers, prescribe conditions for the disposal or retention of marine life specimens and other scientific material, coordinate education programs to ensure community involvement in the preservation of the park, and advise NEPA concerning zoning and location of their boundaries within the marine park.14

Fish Sanctuaries
The Fisheries Act, 2018 also provide a mechanism through which marine ecosytems are explicitly protected to enable the resilience of commercially important species (both fish and invertebrates). Under the Fisheries Act, the Minister (of Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries) may, by ministerial order, declare any area of territorial waters to be a fish sanctuary and/or any area(s) around or adjacent to a fish sanctuary to be a buffer zone.15 Within these areas, an order declaring a fish sanctuary may regulate the activities that are allowed, restricted, or prohibited within a fish sanctuary or buffer zone.16 There are currently 18 sanctuaries where there are no-fishing zones reserved for the reproduction of fish populations.17

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3. Laws providing explicit protections for coral and other marine life
Specific protections for coral reefs in designated marine parks were established in Natural Resources (Marine Parks) Regulations (1992) and its 2003 amendment. Users of marine parks, such as SCUBA divers and snorkelers, dive boat operators, and fishermen, must strictly observe restrictions imposed by the regulations. Under Section 4 of the Maine Parks Regulations, the following are prohibited:

a) Destroying, injuring, defacing, moving, harmfully disturbing, or removing coral, starfish, shellfish, and other marine invertebrates, as well as abiotic materials such as sand and rocks.
b) Cutting, carving, injuring, mutilating, moving, displacing, or breaking off any bottom
formation or growth.
c) Attaching rope, wire, or other tethering materials to coral formations or rocks.
d) Using or selling coral or other materials collected on a reef.

In addition to these, it is a violation of the Marine Park Regulations to discharge any trash, oily wastes or substances, chemicals, or any other pollutant directly into the waters of a coral reef.18 Authorized vessels using marine parks must use buoys provided by park authorities.19 The Regulations provide an exception to the prohibition on removing coral and other marine life for scientific research granted under a permit from government authorities.20

Other laws that protect marine life more generally (within or outside of a marine park), directly or indirectly, include the Beach Control Act (1956), the Endangered Species (Conservation and Regulation of Trade) Act, 2000, and the Natural Resources Conservation (Wastewater and Sludge) Regulations 2013, and the Fisheries Act No. 18 of 2018.

The Beach Control Act, an early piece of conservation legislation (but still in force), established a right for the government to create protected marine areas and prohibited the disposal of trash and other waste materials; the dredging or disturbance of the sea floor; and "the destruction or removal of coral, seafans, and sedentary marine animals."21

The Fisheries Act, 2018 repealed the earlier Fishing Industry Act and replaced it with a more comprehensive law. Among other changes, the new Act coordinates the functions of NEPA with those of the Fisheries Division (part of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries or MICAF) with regard to efforts to conserve and protect "fish", a term that is defined to also include corals and other marine life.22 The earlier Fishing Industry (Special Fishery Conservation Area) Regulations (2012) remain in force. These regulations expanded the area of territorial sea where coral reefs are explicitly protected to include eleven designated fish sanctuaries where marine life may not be removed, except by official authorization.23 Under the Fisheries Act, any person who removes, disturbs, or alters any living organism including live or dead corals in any fish sanctuary.24 Similarly, it is a violation to harmfully alter, disrupt, destroy, or release any harmful substance into a fish habitat, even when the harm occurs unintentionally.25

Fish sanctuary Observer Programmes
The Fisheries Act established Observer Programmes similar to those in use by many other countries (e.g., NOAA in the US) to promote and enable independent oversight of commercial fishing practices and aquaculture facilities, including the monitoring of activities near fish sanctuaries.26 Part XIV of the Act empowers the "Authority" (Fisheries Division of the MICAF) to designate persons as observers "for the purposes of collecting and reporting information for scientific, management and compliance purposes."27 Observers may be assigned to any fishing vessel, aquaculture facility, or any other related facility that has been granted any form of official authorization to operate under the provisions of the Fishing Act.28

Observers are provided identification documents, which they must present to the owner of a fishing boat or aquaculture facility to show that they are authorized to perform scientific or monitoring functions while on board or at the facility.29 The owner of the boat or facility is required to permit and provide assistance to an observer in boarding or entering a vessel, conveyance, or aquaculture facility, allowing them access to view equipment, inspect and make copies of documents and logbooks, and any other thing that the observer considers relevant.30 In addition, an observer may take or remove samples or take photos, video or audio recordings pertinent to their functions.31 Finally, the vessel or facility owner is required to provide food, accommodation, and medical assistance equivalent to that accorded to a member of the crew on board the fishing vessel or aquaculture facility staff.32 No reliable reports emerged during the preparation of this report concerning the performance of these programmes so far in Jamaica.

Table of restricted and prohibited activities
Prohibited activities within MPAs or Fish Sanctuaries (If official authorization has not been obtained) Laws and Regulations
Entry into a Restricted ("No Use") zone of an MPA MPR § 22(1)(i)
Restricted activities and types of watercraft within an MPA MPR § 22,
Varies by zone
SCUBA diving and snorkeling within an MPA MPR §§ 9A and 9B prescribe
the permitting process
Fishing or attempting to fish FA § 94(d) and (e); MPR § 8
Taking, harming, removing, destroying, or breaking off (live or dead) pieces of coral or other marine life MPR § 4(a); FA 94(d) and (e)
BCA § 7(2)(iii),(v),(vi)
Dredging, excavating, filling, or otherwise disturbing the seabed MPR § 5(a)
BCA § 7(2)(iii),(v),(vi)
Discharging waste and pollutants into the water (sewage, trash, petroleum products, chemicals, or other waste) MAR §§ 6(1) and 10(i);
FA §§ 94(2) and 96
Use of explosives, poison, or electrical charge to hunt / kill fish FA § 94(2);
MPR §§ 8(5) and 12(2)
Anchoring or mooring other than at an authorized buoy or dock MPR §§ 4(c) and 17(1)(a),(4)
Damaging coral with an anchor or vessel grounding FA §§ 94(2) and 96
Engaging in research without authorization or in violation of conditions MPR § 9(4); FA § 68
Prohibited anywhere within the territorial waters of Jamaica:
Liability of the captain and crew of a boat for violations by its passengers In rem forfeiture under MPR;
FA § 75
Selling illegally harvested local coral MPR § 4(d)
Removal or trade of designated endangered species FA § 24 ; CITES

Abbreviations used above: MPR = Natural Resources (Marine Parks) Regulations; FA = Fisheries Act of 2018.

Legal requirements for nongovernmental research and restoration projects
Section 9 of the Marine Parks Regulations establish detailed rules for obtaining authorization for and carrying out research projects and scientific study, including studies related to the regeneration of coral and the harvesting of "seed" specimens that it entails.33 The application for a research permit must be transmitted to the Authority (NEPA) through a marine park ranger and include information on the type of research to be performed, the natural specimens to be collected, the research and collection methods to be used, and the estimated costs of the research project, accompanied by the required fees stated in the First Schedule of these regulations.

The Fisheries Act of 2018 imposes a parallel set of requirements on nongovernmental marine research undertaken with the use of a research vessel. Section 68(1) of the Fisheries Act states that an entity wishing to use a vessel to engage in scientific research, surveys operations, aquaculture, or a related activity must first obtain authorization from the Authority (in this case, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF)) for research in the following marine areas:

  1. the fisheries waters, or in any area adjacent to, or surrounding the fisheries waters;
  2. any area of Jamaica which may have a direct impact on aquaculture, a fishery or species of fish and the associated ecosystem; or
  3. any area declared by the Minister by order, to be a special fishery research area.

Failure to obtain a research permit for use of a vessel in the cases is an offense under Section 68(2) of the Act. A written research application must be submitted to MICAF in form that authority prescribes and must be supported by a detailed plan of the scientific research, educational, or survey operations the applicant proposes to undertake.34 Under Section 69(3) of the Act, research proponents must submit data, other documentation, and findings to MICAF during or at the end of the research project (at MICAF's request). These materials include copies of any raw data generated by the research, results and conclusions reached following the completion of the project, copies of any publications resulting from the research, and other conditions MICAF considers necessary. necessary.

Enforcement of explicit provisions protecting coral reefs
a. Authorized enforcement officers
Depending on the context, location, and nature of human activities, a number of types of government personnel are responsible for monitoring and enforcing legal requirements and restrictions intended to directly protect coral reefs and related ecosystems. Within designated MPAs, two categories of personnel may perform these functions: (a) authorized officers and (b) marine park rangers.35 Authorized officers are vested with full police powers and may include means "any officer employed to the Authority [NRCA], any member of the Security Forces, any officer designated as a Fishery Inspector ... and any other public officer designated as an authorized officer by the Authority."36 Under §2 of these Regulations, Security Forces are defined as members of the a) the Jamaica Constabulary Force, (b) the Jamaica Defence Force (Coast Guard), to the extent that specific personnel have been assigned to assist the police, (c) the Island Special Constabulary Force, and (6) the Rural Police. Outside of marine parks, most enforcement actions related to coral reef protection are undertaken by Fisheries Inspectors.

The Marine Parks Regulations also provide for the appointment of marine park rangers, who, among other functions, are responsible for patrolling marine parks and monitoring compliance with the Regulations.37 Although the regulations state that they are authorized to enforce the regulations, the provisions stop short of authorizing the use of force.38 The Regulations authorize rangers to "require any person to refrain from any unlawful act " or require violators to state their full names and places of residence or leave the marine park.39 In the event that force is needed to prevent further violations, Section 26A of the Regulations states that marine park managers (the direct superiors of marine park rangers) must seek assistance through the NRCA and coordinate with authorized officers in responding to and investigating violations that cannot be stopped without the use of force.40

b. Enforcement powers and procedures
Under the Marine Park Regulations, an authorized enforcement officer may board, search, any "conveyance, vessel, equipment, article or thing" without a warrant if he or she has "reasonable cause to suspect" that a violation has been committed.41 Similarly, under the Fisheries Act, fisheries inspectors may "without a warrant, stop, board, enter, search, remain in, or stay on board, as the case may require" any vessel within fishery waters.42 If a search reveals evidence that a vessel has been used in the commission of a violation, the officer may may seize and detain the vessel or other things involved.43 The Marine Park Regulations empower an authorized officer to arrest any persons reasonably believed to have committed offenses within a marine reserve if the officer believes that proceedings against them by summons would not be effective.44 The Fisheries Act does not explicitly authorize powers of arrest to fisheries inspectors, but inspectors may require vessel operators to accompany seized vessels to ports where they are impounded.

Penalties for violations within marine parks are strict, with dive boat operators being liable for acts committed by their crew members or customers. Any person responsible for any of the above violations is liable for a fine of up to $50,000 Jamaican dollars or up to three years in jail, with or without hard labor.45 In addition, a violator is liable for damages of the full cost of rehabilitating or replacing damaged or destroyed coral.46 Similarly, enforcement authorities may seize any vessel or equipment used in a violation and upon conviction, a court for the relevant jurisdiction may order the forfeiture of the vessel and equipment.47 In addition, the Fourth Schedule of the Fisheries Act establishes sanctions for violations of its provisions, including fines of up to 3 million Jamaican dollars and/or two years imprisonment. Part XII of the Fisheries Act established tribunal to adjudicate appeals by those convicted of violations under the Act.

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4. Coastal zone development and environmental impact assessment (EIA)
Both the environmental impact assessment process (EIA) process and watershed management are important tools in controlling land-based sources of runoff that introduce sedimentation and pollutants into coastal waters where many coral reefs exist. NEPA has primary authority for administering the EIA process and issuing environmental licenses for undertaking construction and other projects that have the potential to harm the environment.48 The NRCA Act establishes procedural rules for evaluating EIA studies and approving or denying licenses.

Each proponent of a proposed project must prepare draft terms of reference (TOR) if NEPA determines that the proposal is subject to the EIA process. NEPA, other competent authorities with relevant expertise (such as the Ministry of Energy and the National Irrigation Commission), and other stakeholders must review the draft TOR to determine whether it is acceptable.49 In addition, there is a public participation process through which NEPA seeks input from local communities and members of the public. The application is then reviewed by one of NEPA's Internal and Technical Review Committees. After pertinent input from all relevant agencies and stakeholders has been secured and discussed, the Technical Review Committee's technical recommendations are presented to NEPA's Board, which then decides whether to grant a permit. NEPA is responsible for drafting and issuing documents that contain legally-enforceable terms and conditions that project developers must follow.50

License requirements for coastal development under the Beach Control Act
The Beach Control Act of 1956 (enacted prior to the independence of Jamaica) and its regulations constitute an overlay of additional planning and development requirements pertinent to the coastal zone and contain many provisions that are still in force. The Beach Control Act (BCA) establishes rules for coastal zone management in Jamaica and declares that the "Crown" (now the Jamaican government) retains all rights in and over the foreshore (shoreline) of Jamaica and the floor of the sea.51 The BCA provides that owners or occupiers of coastal land is entitled to use the part of the foreshore adjoining their land for private domestic and recreational purposes and for access to the sea.52 It requires that parties wishing to use the foreshore or the floor of the sea for any new development or structure (such as a dock) obtain a license to do so.53 The license required for use or modifications of the foreshore and/or sea floor represent an auxiliary license that must be incorporated into NEPA decisions to grant or deny environmental permits for coastal development projects, including new or major modifications of coastal zone hotels, resorts, marinas, ports, and other developments.

Enforcement of coastal zone development and EIA requirements
The NRCA Act provides that NEPA and its officers have a right to enter the premises of any party "for the purposes of ensuring compliance with [the NRCA Act] or any other law pertaining to the protection of the environment."54 If NEPA becomes aware that any human activities "pose a serious threat to the natural resources or to public health," it may serve an enforcement notice on the person or entity carrying out the activity, specifying the activity that is causing harm (or which violates environmental permit conditions) and prescribing specific remedial steps to be taken within a specified period.55 If appropriate, NEPA may require the owner or proponent of the activity to restore the natural resources involved to their original condition.56 NEPA may also order the immediate cessation of any activity if imminent or ongoing environmental harm appears likely and specifying the period during which the offending party may appeal the notice.57 If NEPA issues an enforcement notice and the party receiving the notice does not implement the required remedies within the time specified, NEPA personnel may enter the property where the environmental harm or permit violation occurred and undertake the necessary steps.

Sanctions for violations of EIA requirements
If a party receives an enforcement notice, but continues to carry out an activity without complying with required measures the contained in the notice, the party is guilty of an offense and is liable upon summary conviction to a fine of up to $50,000 Jamaican dollars and/or to imprisonment for up to two years.58 If the violator defaults in the payment of a fine imposed, he or she is additionally liable to a prison term for up to one year.59 If the violation continues, the offender is liable to an additional fine of up to $3,000 JAMAICAN dollars for each day that the prohibited activity continues.60

If all of the foregoing measures fail to stop continuing violations of an enforcement notice, NEPA may take appropriate measures to ensure the cessation of the offending activity, including calling on the Jamaica Constabulary Force to secure compliance with an enforcement notice when necessary.61 In cases where NEPA must repair environmental damage itself due to noncompliance by a violator with an enforcement notice, NEPA may recover any costs (no limit exists) that it reasonably incurs in doing so, provided that a court does not find the costs incurred by NEPA to have been excessive.62 Although the NRCA Act provides that parties who wish to appeal enforcement notices and sanctions may appeal to a tribunal created under Section 34 of the Act, in practice these matters have been handled by courts of general jurisdiction.63

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5. Other legislation: land-based and marine pollution
The Natural Resources Conservation (Wastewater and Sludge) Regulations (2013) ("WSR") define areas that have coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangroves in the Caribbean Sea as "Class 1" waters.64 Operators of treatment plants for commercial waste or sewage must apply to NEPA for a permit and implement prescribed measures to avoid the discharge of effluents into the ground or other manner that may result in these substances polluting the sea or terrestrial bodies of water.65 They must utilize and perform approved monitoring protocols and procedures, as well as a compliance plan.66 Effluents resulting from agricultural irrigation are under similar restrictions under the Regulation. If NEPA inspectors detect a violation of permit procedures, they will issue a warning notice stating the nature of the violation and required actions to remedy the violation.67 Treatment plant operators, farmers, and others who violate these regulations are liable for a fine of up to fifty thousand dollars, one year imprisonment. or both.68

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6. Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) to which Jamaica is a signatory

Title of Convention Ratification or
Accession Date
Cartagena Convention 1 Apr 1987
Protocol Concerning Oil Spill (Oil Spill Protocol to the Cartagena Convention) 1 Apr 1987
Protocol Concerning Pollution From Land Based Sources And Activities in the Wider Caribbean Region (LBS Protocol to the Cartagena Convention)5 Nov 2015
Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife in the Wider Caribbean Region (SPAW Protocol to the Cartagena Convention) 18 Jan 1990
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity 25 Sep 2012
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants 1 Jun 2007
United Nations Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous waste and their disposal (Basel Convention) 23 Jan 2003
Rotterdam Convention 20 Aug 2002
Vienna Convention 31 Mar 1993
Montreal Protocol 31 Mar 1993
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) 22 Jul 1997
Convention on Migratory Species 1 Dec 2018
UN Convention on Biological Diversity 6 Jan 1995
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 6 Jan 1995
Kyoto Protocol 28 Jun 1999
Paris Agreement 10 Apr 2017
The United Nations Convention on Wetlands (RAMSAR Convention) 7 Oct 1997
Minamata Convention on Mercury19 Jul 2017
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) 21 Mar 1983
UN Convention to Combat Desertification 12 Nov 1997
Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean26 Sep 2019
Source: InforMEA, Jamaica, https://www.informea.org/en/countries/JM/parties.

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1. Most environmental functions are administered by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC) through one of its agencies, NEPA, while matters pertaining to fisheries are administered through the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF). Their coordination in the protection of marine life is embodied in some areas of legislation. For example, the Natural Resources (Marine Parks) Regulations specify that authorized officers (for enforcement purposes) may be drawn from other agencies (e.g., Security Forces, Fishery Inspectors, and other government officers to whom NEPA delegates this function. Likewise, when administering the EIA process, § 9(5)(a) of the NRCA Act states that NEPA "shall consult with any agency or department of Government exercising functions in connection with the environment" in obtaining sufficient information pertinent to an application for an environmental permit or license.

2. NEPA website, Core Functions, Available at https://www.nepa.gov.jm/new/about/core-functions.php.

3. NEPA Agency Profile, Available at https://www.nepa.gov.jm/new/about/overview.php; A fourth institution, the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) plays a stewardship role in conserving archaeological and historical sites. http://www.jnht.com.

4. The NRCA Act and its regulations normalized and coordinated a range of environmentally-related functions that had been managed in parallel (under separate agencies) for conservation and pollution control under a more coherent scheme.

5. Activities subject to the EIA process are listed in the Natural Resources Conservation (Permits and Licences) Regulations and referenced by NRCA Act § 4(1)(a)–(e) 1996 and its 2015 amendment.

6. Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act (NCRA Act) § 34. In practice, appeals of NEPA decisions to approve or deny environmental permits and licenses have been made to the Court of Appeals. Historically, Courts have been reluctant to reverse NEPA decisions by stepping into the shoes of NEPA decision-makers, but will do so if there is strong evidence of egregious errors. See e.g., the case Northern Jamaica Conservation Association and JET v NRCA and NEPA, Supreme Court of Jamaica, HCV 3022 of 2005, Claim No. HCV 3022 of 2005 (April 27, 28, May 4, 5, 11 and 16, 2006) (Supreme Court of Judicature of Jamaica) (Pear Tree Bottom decision) in which the Court found the granting of an environmental permit defective because members of the public were not privy to critical information that was witheld during the public consultation process. https://www.elaw.org/system/files/ja.ptb.may06.pdf

7. NCRA Act § 6(1).

8. Id.

9. See e.g., Natural Resources (Marine Parks) Regulations 1992, § 2 (Listing types of authorities that may be called on to perform enforcement functions).

10. NRCA Act, § 5(1)(b) and (c); Marine protected areas may be designated after consultation with the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, by a ministerial order published in the offical Gazette.

11. Natural Resources (Marine Parks) Regulations, (1992) and its 2003 amendment, § 22(1).

12. Id. at § 27

13. Id. at § 27(8)

14. Id. at § 17(1)

16. Fisheries Act of 2018 § 17(2)

17. Jamaica Observer (website), Agriculture ministry looking at doubling fish sanctuaries, Tuesday, February 26, 2019, http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Agriculture_ministry_looking_at_doubling_fish_sanctuaries.

18. Natural Resources (Marine Parks) Regulations, §§ 6 and 10.

19. Id. at § 4(c)

20. Id. at § 9(1)

21. Beach Control Act (1956), Sect; 7(2)(iii),(v), and (vi).

22. Fisheries Act § 2

23. The Fishing Industry (Special Fishery Conservation Area) Regulations, 2012.

24. Fisheries Act § 94(d) and (e).

25. Id. at §§ 94(2) and 96.

26. NOAA, Fisheries Observers, https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/topic/fishery-observers.

27. Fisheries Act § 79(1).

28. Id. at § 79(2).

29. Id. at § 79(3) and (4).

30. Id. at § 80(1)(a) and (b).

31. Id. at § 80(1)(c).

32. Id. at § 80(2).

33. Natural Resources (Marine Parks) Regulations (MPR), § 9. The Authority may, after consultation with the marine park manager and on such terms as it thinks fit, grant a permit for(a) the carrying out of research; or (b) the collection of natural objects or specimens of marine life or both, in a marine park for educational, scientific, commercial or industrial purposes.

34. Fisheries Act, § 69(1).

35. MPR, §§ 2 and 24.

36. Id. at § 2.

37. Now appointed by NEPA, MPR, §§ 24- 26

38. Natural Resources (Marine Parks) Regulations (MPR), § 26(1).

39. Id. at § 26(2).

40. Id. at § 26A(1) and (2). Since marine park managers are not generally authorized to carry weapons or otherwise use police force in situations where such force is necessary, § 26A(2) states that marine park managers must coordinate with the Authority (call for the assistance of officers empowered to use force) to undertake appropriate enforcement responses "to prevent, respond to or investigate [environmental] harm."

41. MPR § 18(1).

42. Fisheries Act § 72(1) Under § 72(2) fisheries officers may also enter and search aquaculture facilities.

43. Natural Resources (Marine Parks) Regulations § 18(2).

44. Id. at § 19. Similarly, under the Fisheries Act, a fisheries officer (describe the Fisheries Act equivalent]####

45. Id. at § 4(2).

46. Id. at § 16.

47. Id. at §§ 16, 18(1) and (2).

48. provides a list of activities and projects having the potential to harm the environment subject to the EIA process.

49. For more complete information on the EIA process in Jamaica, see the NEPA PowerPoint guide, Development Applications Process in Jamaica: Development Guide (2012), Available at https://www.nepa.gov.jm/ecentre/development-process.ppt.

50. Id.

51. Beach Control Act of 1956 (BCA) § 3.

52. Id. at § 4.

53. Id. at § 5.

54. Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act § 20.

55. Id. at § 18(1).

56. Id.

57. Id. at § 18(2).

58. Id. at § 18(4).

59. Id.

60. Id.

61. Id. at § 18(5) and (6).

62. Id. at § 19(2).

63. Despite the provisions in § 34 of the NRCA Act, in practice, appeals of enforcement notices, stop notices, sanctions, and environmental permitting decisions have been generally heard in courts of general jurisdiction, including the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Judicature.

64. Natural Resources Conservation (Wastewater and Sludge) Regulations (2013) &Sect; 2 (Interpretation) defines Class 1 waters to mean waters in the Convention area, that due to inherent or unique environmental characteristics or fragile biological or ecological characteristics or human use, are particularly sensitive to the impacts of domestic wastewater, including, inter alia, "(a) water containing coral reefs, sea grass beds or mangroves; (b) critical breeding, nusery or forage areas for aquatic and terrestrial life; (c) areas that provide habitat for species protected under the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wild Life to the Convention (the SPAW Protocol); and (d) waters used for recreation." The Convention area refers to marine areas subject to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean Region: the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the area of the Atlantic occupied by the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the north coast of Cuba, Hispaniola, and the Antilles.

65. Id. at &Sect; 5.

66. Id. at &Sect;&Sect; 20(2) and 40(2).

67. Id. at &Sect; 41.

68. Id. at § 57.

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