Hol Chan Channel to remain closed till June 16th due to Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease
Friday, May 22nd, 2020
Press Release – Hol Chan Marine Reserve – While the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) re-opened on Wednesday May 20th 2020, the Hol Chan Channel will remain closed until June 16th 2020, due to the following:
- The HCMR has been monitoring the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) which has now been spotted in several locations within the reserve.
- On May 15th, all corals observed with the disease specifically at the Hol Chan channel, were treated with antibiotics administered through a CoreRx base. A month will be required before we can be certain that the treatment has worked or if additional treatment will be needed. The time frame of one month is based on recommendations from scientists working with SCTLD in Florida using the same treatment.
- Recent studies published have indicated that transmission of SCTLD associated bacteria, may be associated with slow-moving bottom currents and the accompanying sediment particles.
- Therefore, keeping the Hol Chan Channel closed to visitation will reduce the volumes of sedimentation and the added pressure to the corals. This will also allow the Hol Chan Technical Team to continue working in the area in order to get control of the disease.
Figure 1: The photo to the left the antibiotic treatment is being applied.
The photo to the right shows a brain coral after treatment has been applied.
We ask our stakeholders and the general public to continue to cooperate with us as we continue to work on controlling the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease and work for the preservation and protection of the reserve. Furthermore, all visitors to Shark Ray Alley and Mexico Rocks must follow all regulations for each area. Visitors must also be wearing a mask until entering the water and practice social distance. Thank you for your cooperation.
Access Fees to HCMR:
Non-Belizean Tourist $20 Bze
Belizean Tourist $5 Bze; Free on Sundays
Children under 12 Free
Fees apply to all recreational activities within all zones of the Reserve.
Note all visitors must present an ID (Social security or Passport) upon entrance.
All visitors must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide and follow the BTB 8:1 guest to guide ratio.
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