The beaches in Jamaica are considered to be one of the main factors contributing to the growth and success of the country's tourism industry. Earlier policies for the management of the foreshore resulted in the separation of visitors and residents through a system of exclusive licences and consequently, barred Jamaicans from enjoying some of the finest beaches in the country. Public access to the foreshore and the sea continues to be a recurring and sensitive issue in Jamaica. This policy document addresses these issues and sets out a new policy for public access to beaches. The policy is considered to be central to a comprehensive coastal resource strategy and its purpose is to:
- Remove any vestige of real or implied discrimination against Jamaicans in the use and enjoyment of their national heritage;
- Expand beach-related recreational opportunities for both local residents and all segments of the tourism market;
- Protect the traditional rights of fishermen to access to the foreshore and the sea, and beaching rights on their return from sea;
- Establish guidelines on the leasing and monitoring of the near shore seabed for Mariculture use.