Hellshire Beach Disappearing – Before and After Photos

Much of Hellshire Beach has disappeared, and now the vendors that contribute much to the unique ambiance of area and attract visitors find themselves located literally at the water’s edge instead of comfortably situated on an expanse of beautiful sand. In 2011, LIME funded a study to find solutions to the erosion occurring at Hellshire Beach. The continued disappearance of Hellshire Beach would mean significant losses of livelihood for the fisherfolk and others who derive their income there. In the 1960s, there were only five fish shops located at some 100 feet from the water in St. Catherine.

In 2016, there are more than 90 businesses, which now have the sea at their doorsteps. Some businesses have move further away from the waterline at least five times to avoid imminent dangers, but as the ecosystem there changes daily, the sea continues to eat its way up the sand. Business owners hope that any solution implemented to solve the problem will create 10 to 15 meters of dry beach and stabilize the area to prevent additional erosion. The LIME study found that it would cost US$1.5 million to stop the erosion by implementing measures such as initially building a breakfront to reduce the impact of waves. Other solutions suggested include the “nourishment” of the beach, which involves bringing in sand from another area to augment Hellshire Beach. Experts have said that either solution would be very expensive and only temporary. Beach erosion in Jamaica has been attributed to extreme weather events, rising sea levels, removal of seagrass, and the construction of more hotels and other structures along the coast.