Planning an underwater park

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Smith-Coffin, Margaret A.
Young, George D.
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Thesis (M.L.A.)
Department of Landscape Architecture
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This creative project concerned the planning of an underwater park off the western coast of Negril, Jamaica. Negril is the westernmost point in Jamaica. Negril was traditionally a small fishing village before the development of tourism in the late 1960's. The rapid growth of tourism and haphazard development that followed has had detrimental effects on the marine environment and local community. Much of the local economy still depends on fishing for its subsistence. The underwater park is an attempt to preserve and protect the reefs and linked habitats in Negril.Protecting the reef will ultimately benefit the local fishing economy. The reef, with its warm, shallow waters is a breeding ground for fish. The fish rely on natural protection in the reef until they are large enough to move out into open waters. The park will prohibit collecting of any fish or plant species within the park area or any other activity with negative impacts to the reef ecology.The intent of the study was to locate and identify the underwater interpretive resources (coral communities), closely linked marine habitats and to recommend park boundaries and designate levels of use and protection. Further intent was to identify current and potential impacts, determine the proper status for the park, outline management objectives, regulations, and specify management plans for the park.The Negril Underwater Park will exist for the purpose of encouraging maximum compatible development of the coral reef system, as a visitor attraction and recreation area, while preserving the resources from degradation through a program of controlled use. The park is also intended to protect habitats linked to the coral reef especially the Great Negril Morass, Sea-grass, beach, and Mangrove areas.