Cangrejo Caye has been the center of controversy. Many “jewelers” see it as a “diamond in the rough” while environmentalists see it as an area that needs to be protected. As in a tug-o’-war, Cangrejo Caye has been pulled back and forth and finally the game has ended.
In a press release issued on Friday, September 5th, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Honorable Rene Montero, accompanied by Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., announced that Hol Chan Marine Reserve has now been expanded to include Cangrejo Caye as part of Zone C.
A Trust Fund Meeting was held and the Ministers met with Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr. Gabino Canto and personnel from the Fisheries Department.
Despite many rumours of alleged sales, surveying and leasing of Cayo Cangrejo, residents can now sigh a breath of relief to know that the precious caye now belongs to the people of Belize. The expansion of Zone C, however, will also include the surrounding sea grass beds. The press release continues:
The Cangrejo area contains vital habitats which serve as nurseries for the various commercial fish species and Spiny Lobster, Panulirus argus.
The Cangrejo Marine habitats maintain the lobster fishery in Northern Belize viable. Apart from supporting the fishing industry, this area is heavily used by sports fishermen who visit Belize to target species such as the Bony Fish, Tarpon and Permit. Sportsfishing is catch and release. The area will be protected after many consultations with the various user groups such as the tour guides, fishermen and the public in general.