ATLANTA, Georgia – Jamaica’s Industry Investment and Commerce Minister, Senator Aubyn Hill, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Georgia Aquarium, as the country explores opportunities in the blue economy towards national development.
The signing took place at a reception hosted by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce of Atlanta at the Georgia Aquarium on Wednesday May 24 and formed part of the Minister’s two-day trade visit to Atlanta.
In his remarks, the Aquarium’s president and CEO Dr. Brian Davis explained that the Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the western hemisphere, is a multi-disciplinary entity, which spans scientific research, ocean conservation, education, tourism, entertainment, and guest experience.
“The memorandum that we sign today was made possible “from our previous meetings as well as work that we have conducted over the last two (2) years in Jamaica with local partners,” Dr. Davis said. “We believe that we are in a strong position to explore working closely with the Government of Jamaica in a number of aspects,” he continued.
In his remarks, Minister Hill said Jamaica was pleased to be a part of this important Blue Economy initiative and will help to drive this new initiative.
He commended Jamaica’s Consul General to Miami with responsibility to Atlanta Oliver Mair whose initiative it was to partner with the Atlanta Aquarium.
Under the signed MOU, there is expected to be Commercial Cooperation by way of the purchase of ornamental fish for their location as well as the Aquarium industry in the USA. Jamaica will facilitate the growth of the industry.
In addition, there will be a level of Capacity Building by the Atlanta Aquarium in working with the Government of Jamaica to assist in the provision of Skills & Capacity training and development to support Aquatic sustainability including Animal Care and Life Support Systems.
They will also work towards the protection of important marine areas through the establishment of fish sanctuaries in Jamaica. This would build on the work we have done so far in Jamaica for the two (2) new sanctuaries being gazetted.
Yet another initiative will be a Shark Research, Conservation & Education component where the Georgia Aquarium will work with the government of Jamaica to conduct research and education on sharks, towards the possible establishment of a shark sanctuary in Jamaica.
As part of the initiative, an exchange programme Exchange Program will be implemented to explore facilitation of exchange of students and early career professionals to gain exposure to relevant training programs and environments both in the USA and Jamaica.
Both parties will work towards the establishment of a Port Royal Exhibition at the Georgia Aquarium, highlighting Port Royal and the marine protected areas.
The Georgia Aquarium is the most popular visitor attraction in the state of Georgia, generating over US$120 million in estimated annual revenues, and has stimulated over US$5 billion of investments in the city of Atlanta.
While in Atlanta, Senator Hill met with a number of business interests, addressed a business breakfast sponsored by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce of Altana as well as town hall meeting attended by members of the Jamaican community in Atlanta.