Friday, July 12, 2024

Hol Chan Marine Reserve rebrands and launches marine station

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A ceremony to celebrate the Hol Chan Marine Reserve‘s rebranding (HCMR) and the launching of its marine station was held on Thursday, February 24th, in San Pedro Town. The official event shared the state of the organization, revealed a new logo, and launched its marine station at sea. The occasion saw the presence of Prime Minister Honourable John Briceño, who, along with Area Representative Honourable Andre Perez and HCMR Chairman Ian Pou, shared with those in attendance that the island and the country have entered a new chapter in the administration of the oldest marine reserve in the nation.

Master of Ceremonies Vicky Coc welcomed the invited guests as the ceremony kicked off shortly after 10AM. Chairman Pou provided an overview of the organization’s early struggles when he took over under the new government that came into power in November 2020. The majority were financial issues, and according to him, Hol Chan is now in a better situation. Pou said they are still are not where they need to be, but with the new administration, the institution has stayed afloat and continues to provide the necessary services in the management of the marine reserve. He thanked all the stakeholders who worked with them in the positive restoration of HCMR.

In his remarks, the Area Representative Honourable Perez recognized Hol Chan’s team for their innovative approach to protection and management, including important contributions to tourism, conservation, education, and research. “This, in essence, embodies what the Blue Economy is all about,” said Perez. “Hol Chan Marine Reserve is an example of what we can do under the framework of the Blue Economy. Sustainable development, preserving our environment, and where everyone can benefit from what our aquatic blue space provides to our community and to this country.”

In his keynote address, Prime Minister Briceño said there is a responsibility to protect the environment for tourism and future generations on the island and the country. “We are so special; we are unique,” he said. Briceño said that the culture of establishing protected areas on land and sea had helped the country stand out from countries much larger than Belize.

Rebranding ceremony recognizes stakeholders for their cooperation

Awards of recognition were represented to several stakeholders on the island. These included Captain’s Shark’s Belize, Xanadu Resort, Victoria House, Ramon’s Village Resort, Salt Life, Caribbean Breeze, Jacob Santos, and Belize Pro-Divers.

New Logo

“Hol Chan” is a Mayan word meaning “little channel.” The logo uses the name that has come to symbolize the management organization and incorporates one of the many iconic species of the reserve, the Southern Sting Ray. The different shades of blue represent the sky and the sea. The waves represent continuous motion, symbolizing the staff and management’s hard work and dedication to maintain the ecological integrity of this marine protected area and support the community.

The event ended with a visit to the reserve, where Prime Minister Briceño, along with Perez and Pou, cut the ribbon inaugurating the marine station. HCMR rangers and personnel from the Fisheries Department will use the facility over the water to increase enforcement and surveillance while enhancing the services provided to international visitors and Belizeans alike. The reserve is very busy most of the time, and the main activities include snorkelling and diving.

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