Preparations underway for the 12th annual Ambergris Caye Reef Week

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Final preparations for the 12th annual Reef Week celebrations are underway at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The events will take place in San Pedro Town from the 8th to the 14th of May under the theme ‘Let’s Protect our Greatest Treasure; so it’s enjoyed with pleasure.’
The theme was selected in a Primary School competition held earlier this year. The winning submission came from Kimberly Houghton, a student from the Island Academy School.
According to Mariela Archer, Environmental Education at Hol Chan Marine Reserve and main coordinator for 2017 Reef Week activities, the theme will emphasize the importance of protecting the reef so that future generations can enjoy it. “This is everybody’s business. If we do not protect the reef it will affect all of us; not just the tour guides who depend directly from it, but everyone,” explained Archer. “The entire country could suffer the consequences, as the reef drives a lot of tourism into the country’s economy.”
Reef Week will start with the ‘Swim to the Reef Awareness’ on Monday, May 8th at 5:30AM from Amigos del Mar dock. Archer invites as much people as many possible to come out and take part in this memorable activity. “You can swim, or even snorkel all the way to the reef. Take your time to appreciate the beauty of this natural resource that sustains us,” she said. There will be boats along the way in case anyone needs assistance.
Activities continue on Tuesday, May 9th with a Primary School Trivia Competition at the San Pedro Lions Den. Set to start at 9:30AM, the competition will test participants’ knowledge about the reef. Students from San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker Village will take on the challenge. “To participate in this competition, we gave students a study guide, and they have about a month to study it,” said Archer. “The guide is not just about the reef, but it has information about the nine reserves around the country.”
The fun continues on Wednesday, May 10th at 9AM with Puppet Shows at different schools around the island. The presentations will educate the students about managing access to fishing, the rights to fish certain areas, and sustainable fishing. On Thursday, May 11th, activities will continue with the annual Reef Fair starting at 9:30AM at the Central Park. Aside from Hol Chan Marine Reserve, several organizations will be present at the event, with education booths targeting the local populace about the work they do to help protect the reef and the environment.
One of the most anticipated events will take place on Friday May 12th when Hol Chan Marine Reserve will host a lionfish tournament at Estel’s Dine by the Sea. Archer indicated that anyone can join; including tour guides who can participate while at the same time sell the trip as a tour if they wish. “We will try to have a judge on the boats and there will be a prize for the team that catches the most lionfish,” she said. Participants are expected to head out to sea early in the morning and return by 3PM to the weigh-in station at Estel’s.
In addition, there will also be a lionfish ceviche competition following the weigh-in, and all restaurants are invited to participate. “It’s a great way for people to know where the best lionfish ceviche can be found in town,” said Archer. Interested persons for the tournament and ceviche competition must register by Monday, May 8th at the Hol Chan office, or by contacting Valentine Rosado at 602-2100.
Reef Week will culminate on Saturday, May 13th with a Kayak Race around the island. The race will start at 8AM in front of Wayo’s Beach Bar.
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve would like to thank all the schools that participated in the Reef Week theme competition, as well as those who have confirmed their participation in the events during that week. To find out more, or how you can participate in the various reef week activities, contact Hol Chan Marine Reserve at 226-2247.

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