Hol Chan Marine Reserve hosts a stakeholders workshop

Friday, February 15th, 2019

Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) hosted a half day workshop with stakeholders of HCMR at the San Pedro Town Council conference room in San Pedro Town on Wednesday, February 13th. The workshop saw the attendance of tour operators, tour guides, commercial fisherman, fly fishing guides, non- governmental organizations and media corps.
At 1PM, the workshop began with a discussion of the importance of protecting and preserving the HCMR. This was followed by participants being divided into groups to highlight the different issues they have encountered at the HCMR.
Thereafter, Julian Walcott facilitated the attendees with a presentation on the concepts of Ecosystem Based Management (EBM). According to Dr. Walcott, EBM concepts will allow for issues/conflicts to be identified and potential solutions and better management options to be identified.
Attendees then highlighted many problems they are facing, and shared possible solutions. “Many of the stakeholders here already know this information and we know how to sustainably develop. The person that should be present at this workshop are the developers and the various ministries,” said one participant. He highlighted how often investors carry out huge developments within the marine reserve that are approved by the different government entities without a proper inspection, without determining if that area is able to sustain these kind of development. “I believe that they should be present in this workshops,” he concluded.
Another participant suggested a possible solution to all the unsustainable development happening within the reserve is to have a full time officer from the Department of the Environment, Belize Fisheries Department and the Department of Natural Resources on the island. “That way they can properly inspect if the area is able to handle those types of development before issuing a permit,” she suggested.
HCMR Technical Manager Kirah Foreman stated that they will look into all the solutions suggested and get back to everyone. “We want to start having more meetings like this in order to find ways to foster a better relationship with our stakeholders.”
HCMR’s main goals are to identify stakeholders and user groups of HCMR and develop a better understanding of their use of the reserve, linkages amongst them, and identify existing issues. The ultimate goal is for stakeholders to work closely with HCMR to allow for better management and development solutions. HCMR directors assured island stakeholders that they plan to find solutions to the problems voiced. The workshop was supported by the management of HCMR through funding from The Centre for Resource Management and the Environmental Studies (CERMES) at the University of the West Indies.
For the same part that includes the ones who can make it for now, this one for us to include that one person in need of us for the same area of that person that includes.

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