Belmont Fishing Beach Rainwater Catchment Project – Jamaica

Belmont Fishing Beach, Belmont District, Bluefields, Parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica

Community Description
Belmont is a small rural fishing and farming community on the Southwest coast of Jamaica. Belmont is part of Bluefields, a collection of seven communities with a population of approximately 4,000.

Bluefields is located on the Bluefields Bay, an important marine habitat that has recently been designated as a Fish Sanctuary. A significant portion of the population relies on the fishing industry for food and income.

Unfortunately, in the past few decades, a combination of poor fishing methods and overfishing has resulted in a significant decline in the local fishing industry. The Bluefields Bay Fishermen’s Friendly Society (BBFFS), led by 57 local fishers, has been working hard over the past five years to combat this problem by educating fishers about sustainable fishing methods, lobbying for and maintaining a Fish Sanctuary to act as a fish nursery, and implementing projects aimed at improving the lives of fishers, their families, and the surrounding community.

Through a partnership with Food for the Poor, the BBFFS has provided housing, fishing equipment, and a cold storage unit to fishers and community members. Unfortunately, the cold storage unit is yet to become operational due to concerns with the costs of providing clean water and electricity.

Project Description
This project will establish a rainwater catchment system on the cold storage unit building at the Belmont Fishing Beach. The unit will provide fishers with a 10′ x 10′ walk-in freezer to store their catch prior to sale. By doing so, the unit will encourage fishers to fish in deeper waters for larger fish, a style of fishing which is much more sustainable than fishing in shallow waters for reef fish.

The cold storage unit also has the capacity to greatly improve the health and safety of the process of preparing fish for consumption. Currently, fish are cleaned and scaled in a small stream adjacent to the Belmont Fishing Beach.

The stream lies in a basin that serves as the outflow for a watershed that receives sewage from over 35 houses. Recent water tests indicated that fecal coliform levels in the stream were upwards of 180 ppm, which is over 200% higher than the safe drinking level. The cleaning of fish in this stream thus poses a significant health risk to the local community.

The system will be comprised of gutters along both sides (24-feet long) of the tin roof of the cold storage unit building which will feed into a 650-gallon storage tank. The tank will be fitted with a pipe and spigot that will make the water available to the fishers in a designated fish cleaning area. A receptacle will also be constructed to ensure that fish waste is collected and composted to prevent any sanitation issues.

The water catchment system was designed by Patrick Marti, who has a background in chemical engineering, in collaboration with the Executive Board of the BBFFS. The project will be managed by Mr. Livingston Thompson, Vice President of the BBFFS, and Mr. Cavin Lattiebudare, Executive Board Member of the BBFFS, who are both fishermen and active members of the community. They will lead a team of five local fishers who will purchase the storage tank, pipe, spigot, glue, gutters, and waste receptacle materials and then install the system. Both Mr. Thompson and Mr. Lattiebudare have experience in installing similar systems.

Project Impact
50 fishers will directly benefit and approximately 1,000 community members will indirectly benefit from the project.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Patrick Marti

The water catchment system installed through this project will provide safe, clean rainwater to be used by the fishers for the cleaning of fish. It will also reduce the costs on the already burdened fishers by eliminating the need to purchase treated water, which would be the only other safe alternative. Finally, it will improve the health and safety of the community by reducing the pollution in the stream.

Dollar Amount of Project

Donations Collected to Date

Dollar Amount Needed
$0.00 – This project has been fully funded through the generosity of the Elmo Foundation.

We encourage others to continue to donate using the Donate button below, and we will notify Peace Corps Volunteer Patrick Marti of your donation. Additional funds will be used to fund the next project by Patrick and/or those of other PCVs in the country of service.

This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.