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Latest edition of Reef Currents is out January 7, 2010

Posted by San Pedro Sun in Community, Environment.
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The latest edition of Reef Currents is out. Reef Currents is a Hol Chan Marine Reserve publication which keeps you in touch with the work the reserve is carrying out.

Hard copies are available at their office on Caribena Street or by emailing them at hcmr@btl.com or mikeobze@yahoo.com. For further information kindly contact Hol Chan Marine Office at (226) 2247.

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Illegal croc feeding continues – Saga issues warning October 21, 2009

Posted by San Pedro Sun in Crime, Environment.
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In September, a family pet found himself in a precarious position which cost him his life. It followed some people to the WASA Lagoon where a hungry crocodile awaited. For years, the illegal crocodile feeding has taken place at the WASA Lagoon. This attracts onlookers during feeding time but, as studies have shown, this is a dangerous practice. A warning sign was placed on the site, informing the public that feeding the crocodiles is an illegal practice as per the Laws of Belize. People caught may be fined and may even face imprisonment. However, feeding continues.
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The SAGA Humane Society issued a press release stating the following: The Saga Humane Society has received several complaints in the last several weeks about crocodile feedings down by the water plant area again. These feedings have resulted in the loss of two small dogs on the island. One of these dogs was a family pet now being mourned by a very distraught and traumatized child. Not only is this behavior illegal and dangerous, it is clearly being conducted by suspects. The Saga Humane Society along with the South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch (SACNW) will increase patrols in the area and will prosecute to the full extent of the law anyone conducting or participating in any of these activities. The Wildlife Division has been notified of these incidents and will also carry out an investigation and remove any crocodiles now conditioned to human feedings. Anyone passing by that area and seeing any of this illegal activity is asked to notify the patrol at the SACNW station. That number is 610-4911. Please help us protect our wildlife by stopping this illegal and very dangerous activity.

It is a CRIME to feed the crocodiles. Under Chapter 220 of the laws of Belize Wildlife Protection Act molesting (including feeding) wildlife is punishable by a $1,000 fine and/or six months in prison.

Project Aware – mixing fun with environmental education! October 20, 2009

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White Sands Dive Shop hosted kids this past weekend as part of Project Aware. The importance of the workshop is highlighted by the fact that aside from being an excellent and fun experience for the kids that take part, it is also key in dissimenating important environmental information.

This weekend was the first of many other Project Aware activities which will take place in the next coming Saturdays. Keep in touch with San Pedro Sun and we will certainly inform you when the following project comes your way.

After a morning of Beach Clean-up, the group got to enjoy a great snorkel expedition at Tuffy.

Beach Cleanup Oct 2009 – Aware Kids program October 18, 2009

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Beach Cleanup Oct 2009

Aware Kids

In October and November White Sands Dive Shop will be conducting the AWARE Kids program beginning this Saturday October 17th. The program is designed for kids 5 through 11 years of age and designed to educate primary students about the underwater environment.

There are a total of 5 AWARE Kids Missions: Kids Clean Up!, Recycling Rocks!, Kids to the Rescue! (Threatened Underwater Animals), Way Cool Water Conservation! and Speak Out! each to be conducted on a Saturday.

Saturdays beach cleanup gives kids in the AWARE Kids Program credit for AWARE Mission 1: Kids Clean Up! and each will receive a certificate of appreciation from Jenny Miller Garmendia the director of Project AWARE Foundation. Immediately following the Beach Cleanup the Kids will be given a Reef Snorkel Experience by one of White Sands Dive Shops Tour Guides.

White Sands Dive Shops AWARE Kids program is conducted in conjunction with The Project AWARE Foundation’s Go ECOExplore, Conserve, Observe. The campaign adopted a mile of Ambergris Cayes beach. The mile of beach begins at Las Terrazas/Journeys End Resort and extends Northward to Mata Grande.

White Sands Dive Shop Manager Emiliano Rivero commented.” The Beach will be patrolled and cleaned regularly of plastics and glass with an emphasis placed on not disturbing naturally occurring beach wash such as sea grasses and drift woods necessary for the prevention of erosion and support of biodiversity of the area. We are not just cleaning the beach we are protecting it. This barrier island beach is a part of the reef system and were going to treat it with the same respect we give the corals.”

AWARE ECO educates travelers about keeping natural areas pristine and encourages tour operators to implement environmentally responsible business practices.

AWARE Kids educates elementary school aged kids who want

to discover, explore and investigate the fascinating aquatic world.

Tourism is the world’s largest industry and travelers are increasingly concerned about

their destination’s environmental condition. San Pedros divers and industry leaders have a responsibility to preserve local resources they depend on every day.

Project AWARE ECO Operators Such as Ambergris’s White Sands Dive Shop provides customers with experiences that enhance visitor awareness.

Marine Reserves educate White Sands Dive Shop October 15, 2009

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Hol Chan persentation 2Under the Department of Fisheries today, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Caye Caulker Marine Reserve and Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve and National Park gave their annual presentation to White Sands Dive Shop staff. The presenters where Mariela Archer of the Hol Chan office , Nidia Chacon for the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve and Roberto Carballo for the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. Topics of the presentations where general use of designated zones within the various reserves, new rules and regulations and new boundaries.
Hol Chan PresentationThe discussion topics included Coral reef monitoring results, Coral Bleaching, Coral Spawning at Caye Caulker, The new Kids Environmental Education project, Sea turtle monitoring and location of new residential developments proximity to the reserves.Hol chan presentation -caye Caulker reserveMore information about the Northern Marine Reserves management can be found in the Reef Currents newsletter from Hol Chan.

Project Aware Beach Cleanup Oct. 2009 October 15, 2009

Posted by San Pedro Sun in Community, Environment.
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In October and November White Sands Dive Shop will be conducting the AWARE Kids program beginning this Saturday October 17th. The program is designed for kids 5 through 11 years of age and designed to educate primary students about the underwater environment. 

AWARE%20kids%20Logo

There are a total of 5 AWARE Kids Missions: Kids Clean Up!, Recycling Rocks!, Kids to the Rescue! (Threatened Underwater Animals), Way Cool Water Conservation! and Speak Out! each to be conducted on a Saturday. 

Saturdays beach cleanup gives kids in the AWARE Kids Program credit for AWARE Mission 1: Kids Clean Up! and each will receive a certificate of appreciation from Jenny Miller Garmendia the director of Project AWARE Foundation. Immediately following the Beach Cleanup the Kids will be given a Reef Snorkel Experience by one of White Sands Dive Shops Tour Guides. 

White Sands Dive Shops AWARE Kids program is conducted in conjunction with The Project AWARE Foundation’s Go ECO – Explore, Conserve, Observe. The campaign adopted a mile of Ambergris Cayes beach. The mile of beach begins at Las Terrazas/Journeys End Resort and extends Northward to Mata Grande. 

White Sands Dive Shop Manager Emiliano Rivero commented.” The Beach will be patrolled and cleaned regularly of plastics and glass with an emphasis placed on not disturbing naturally occurring beach wash such as sea grasses and drift woods necessary for the prevention of erosion and support of biodiversity of the area. We are not just cleaning the beach we are protecting it. This barrier island beach is a part of the reef system and were going to treat it with the same respect we give the corals.” 

AWARE ECO educates travelers about keeping natural areas pristine and encourages tour operators to implement environmentally responsible business practices. 

AWARE Kids educates elementary school aged kids who want to discover, explore and investigate the fascinating aquatic world. Tourism is the world’s largest industry and travelers are increasingly concerned about their destination’s environmental condition. San Pedros divers and industry leaders have a responsibility to preserve local resources they depend on every day.

Project AWARE ECO Operators Such as Ambergris’s White Sands Dive Shop provides customers with experiences that enhance visitor awareness.

Illegal Croc feeding continues October 1, 2009

Posted by San Pedro Sun in Community, Crime, Environment.
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    What happens when wild American crocodiles are illegally fed for entertainment? They begin to associate man with food and will approach anyone who looks like they are offering a meal. Case in point, a couple weeks ago this young man lured a huge croc in from the WASA lagoon south of San Pedro with nothing more than a rock tied onto a rope. It all took place just yards from a large sign that was recently posted by the Belize Forest Department warning against the act, stating “Under Chapter 220 of the Laws of Belize Wildlife Protection Act, molesting (feeding) wildlife is punishable by a $1,000 fine and/or six months in prison.”

croc eating garbage

    Days later a photo of a large croc taken in the same area was posted on the Ambergriscaye.com message board. The croc was consuming a large bag of garbage that was illegally dumped in the area. The bag was reportedly full of tin cans and other indigestible trash. Again, the animal demonstrated an appetite for food originating from man.

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    In both scenarios this behavior is unhealthy and may even be lethal to the animal, while feeding crocs is a dangerous and illegal practice. The public is reminded again that it is illegal to molest or feed wildlife and dumping trash in the area is illegal as well.

Coral Reef CSI September 30, 2009

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No, it is not the popular tv show, CSI. But, just like on tv, members of the Department of Environment, and/or environmental organizations rendezvoused to Ramon’s Village where they began their 5-day training on Coral Reef CSI.

When a coral reef gets damaged, whether from agricultural runoff, pollution, sediment deposits, ship groundings, garbage dumping, fish poachers or oil spills, marine biologists know what to look for, but not how to document and preserve their findings so they will hold up in court. This will soon change in Belize as experts have gathered at Ramon’s Village for a five day program geared at training them in CSI-type standards which will govern such things as how to take notes under the sea, how to mark off the crime scene, how to photograph it, and how to preserve the “chain of custody” so that defense attorneys cannot argue that evidence was tampered with.

The program ends with a mock court session on Sunday.

Hol Chan releases Reef Currents July 15, 2009

Posted by San Pedro Sun in Community, Environment.
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NewsletterFinal (HolChan)_Page_1

    The Northern Marine Reserve Management Unit has launched a new initiative, a quarterly newsletter spearheaded by the Hol Chan Marine Reserve staff. Reef Currents, is geared to inform stakeholders in the protected areas in and around San Pedro Ambergris Caye about some of the work being done in protecting the environment. The newsletter is expected to be an important communication tool between the management of the marine reserves and the stakeholders including tour operators, hoteliers, visitors, students and the local residents.

    The newsletter features short articles on the environment, improvement at the marine reserves, activities being done by the different marine reserves and a cartoon section. “We are inviting readers to submit comments and feedback,” stated Hol Chan Marine Reserve Manager Miguel Alamilla. Alamilla added that, “we want the newsletter to be as interactive, dynamic and interesting as possible. As we work on the different issues we will be making new additions to the newsletter.” The newsletter is mass emailed to various individuals and organizations while hard copies are distributed in strategic areas including the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Office.

    The first issue was released in June and the other issue of the newsletter will come out in October. To get a copy of the newsletter you can contact the Hol Chan Office at 226-2247 or email them at mikeobze@yahoo.com