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Wetlands Committee Working on Creating New Protected Areas

The Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development Executive Committee would like to inform the public of the current project that the group is working on.  Their first meeting for this project was held in July and its objective was to create the Ambergris Caye Wetlands Management Committee. The ACCSD along with other organizations including Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Tour Guide Association, BTIA, San Pedro Business Association, Green Reef, and the ACLBA came together to form the Ambergris Caye Wetlands Committee. The ACWC’s goal is to be able to create protected areas which will be the future of our young generation and for the betterment of our island. Through this committee and with your support we will be able to accomplish this and make it a success! The proposed protected areas are as follows:

Mexico Rock’s Marine – total proposed area 8.75sq miles
This new area will be an exclusive recreational area. On the map we can identify the red lining as the NO TAKE ZONE and the blue lining is the General Use Zone.  Access will be given to the traditional users for them to continue their usual activities.  This is to benefit both fishermen and tourist guides.  The size of the of the NO TAKE ZONE is proposed to be 1.5 sq. miles (1 mile running along the reef and 1.5 miles running east to west from the outer fore – reef.).  

Bajos Proposed Marine Reserve – total proposed area 350 sq kilometers
The Bajos proposed area is designated as a marine reserve with zoning for catch and release fishing.  A possible area is being studied at the moment for extracting dredge material. The proposed site encompasses a total area of 130 sq. miles of shallow semi contained marine bay called the Corozal Bay. This area includes nine small islands and five shoals which are vital habitats for the islands fisheries for schooling tarpon, permit and bonefish which are key target species for sport fishermen.  

Cayo Frances/Mata Frances Lagoon
This is proposed area will be a National Park and will encompass the Cayo Frances and Mata Lagoons. This area has served as the route for the annual Reef /Lagoon Eco-challenge and recreational uses including catch and release sport fishing. This area will give proper conservation initiative to protect the few remaining tracts of mangrove wetlands.

This concept paper was presented to the Hon. Min. Manuel Heredia Jr. last week and he is in full support for these projects.  Amendments will be made to the areas so that we are able to finalize the concept.  Presently, the Minister is in the process of submitting the copies of the concept paper to the relevant Ministries for consultation.  It has been agreed that a Public consultation will be held on January 05, 2012 to present the concept paper to the local community for their input.

Proposed Mexico Rocks Marine ReserveProposed Bajos Marine ReserveCayo/Mata Frances Wetlands

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