Proposed New Marine Reserve

Proposed New Marine Reserve
for Ambergris Caye

Stakeholders who gathered at the San Pedro Lions Den on
Tuesday, August 21, 2012, to participate in a public consultation regarding a
new marine reserve for Ambergris Caye, came to a mutual consensus and totally
supported the draft proposal.
The consultation was held by Ambergris Caye
Wetlands Committee that invited Mr. James Azueta of the Fisheries Department who
updated the community on the progress of the proposed Ambergris Caye Marine
Reserves Cluster that includes nine established zones in three general areas
namely the Bajos, Mata Frances Wetland Lagoon and the Mexico Rocks.
Azueta went over all the laws, rule, regulations and license fees that would be
implemented in the new reserves. The meeting gave the opportunity for
stakeholders to review the draft proposal and submit suggestions and objections
towards the new proposed reserve.

Zone 1 – Mexico Rocks
Conservation Zone
Zone 2 – Mexico Rocks Gereral Use Zone
Zone 3 – Cayo
Frances Conservation Zone
Zone 4 – Bajos General Use Zone
Zone 5 – Pajaros
Conservation Zone
Zone 6 – Bajo Conservation Zone
Zone 7 – Cayo Rosario
Conservation Zone
Zone 8 – Blackadore Large Conservation Zone
Zone 9 – Los
Salones 2 Conservation Zone
The zoning and rules of the new marine
reserve will be similar to that of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve which will
include general use zones and conservation zones which will determine where
commercial fishing, general use, sports fishing take place and determine no take
zones and where different governing licenses will fall into place in order to
properly monitor and protect the area. What is clear is that commercial fishing
shall be allowed in the General Use Zones, but no spear fishing will be
permitted within all the marine reserve.
The presentation was only on the
proposed draft of the reserve and will have to pass through law so that the
marine reserve status can be obtained and proper management established.
Including the Mexico Rocks area into the marine reserve is a very positive step
to protect the area which has been in proposal ever since the Hol Chan Marine
Reserve was established, but never integrated into a reserve. Now that that the
area will be joining the reserve clusters, it makes it more feasible to have the
Mexico Rocks area made into a reserve.
Present at the consultation meeting
as President of the San Pedro Tour Guide Association, Billy Leslie, who full
supported the proposal on behalf of the organization and offered to extend some
suggestions to the committee.
Work now commences to pass the draft proposal
and fully establish a new marine reserve for the county of Belize in order to
continue properly managing and protecting our natural environment.
Ambergris Today