Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Ecomar launches Belize Barrier Reef Watch program


The non-profit organization Ecomar is engaging stakeholders in its Belize Barrier Reef Watch program to raise awareness about the need to protect Belize’s marine resources. The project aims to monitor and help protect the barrier reef with the public’s assistance.
Ecomar’s Outreach Coordinator Bianca Chan and volunteer Samantha Smith visited San Pedro Ambergris Caye to try and get people involved. Chan explained that the Belize Barrier Reef Watch revitalizes the former initiative dubbed Belize Coral Watch. However, this time the program will cover other areas. “In the beginning, we used to concentrate on the corals only, such as coral bleaching, but now we are also including sea turtles and studying the lionfish,” said Chan. She added that the initiative is stakeholder-based and engages with people who work out at sea. These include fishermen and people in the tourism industry. They have trained fishermen and provided them with action cameras. The Ecomar team receives images from the fisherfolk about anything of interest regarding the reef and marine life.
Chan said anyone besides tour operators/guides and fishermen could join this effort. If anyone sees anything threatening the health of the reef, or marine wildlife, an increase in lionfish presence, or anything unusual out at sea, try to get images and send them via WhatsApp to +501-634-6575 or +501-671-3483
Ecomar is also encouraging stakeholders to share information about healthy areas of the reef system. Chan also noted that detailed reports could be shared with Ecomar by logging the information here http://www.ecomarbelize.org/submit-report.html. This portal provides different links for specific reports, such as coral bleaching, sea turtle observations, lionfish, and other aspects of the marine ecosystem. Ecomar is also looking forward to starting an educational program to provide schools with presentations regarding Belize’s marine resources.
Ecomar is based in Belize City and was founded in 1995 to promote conservation through education. You can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ecomarbelize.org and also visit their website at www.ecomarbelize.org.

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