In 2011 an environmental advocacy group was formed called the Ambergris Caye Wetlands Committee (ACWC). ACWS was composed of members of the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development (ACCSD) Executive Committee, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, San Pedro Tour Guide Association, Belize Tourism Industry Association, San Pedro Business Association and Green Reef. The group developed a proposal for three areas in north Ambergris Caye to become protected areas: Mexico Rock’s Marine Reserve, Bajos Proposed Marine Reserve and Cayo Frances/ Mata Frances Lagoons. The proposal is part of the Ambergris Caye Conservation Initiative of 2011.
ACWC initially stated that the concept paper was presented to Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. on December 15, 2011 and he gave his full support to the project. Two public consultations were also held on January 5th and August 21, 2012. The local government seemed to be onboard with the project.
However, it has been over a year now since the project commenced and there has
It appears that the primary concern for the proposal is the private land
According to Minister Heredia, the proposed protected reserve should be handled in sections with a primary focus on Mexico Rock’s Marine Reserve. “We need to have as much space reserved to benefit the tourism industry but certain factors need to be addressed. These factors include the allocation of dredging areas,” said Heredia. “Mexico Rocks is ready and we need to move ahead with that, then we can move with the less controversial Cayo Frances/ Mata Frances Lagoons and finally we can tackle the Bajos area which is the most problematic because of dredging. The community has to remember that once this is legalized this will be the largest Marine Reserve in the country,” continue Heredia, “Once the proposal allocates areas for dredging for persons that own property within the area, the project has my full support.”
Alamilla and Arceo emphasize the revision of a proposed protected reserve is a lengthy process that must be scrutinized meticulously. To learn more about the north Ambergris Caye proposed Reserve visit https://sites.google.com/site/accsdbze/proposed-marine-protected-areas or the ACCSD at https://sites.google.com/site/accsdbze/.