Climate Change adaptation is a matter taken seriously in Belize as the effects can already be seen in various areas. Yesterday a group of media personnel took a tour to view how bad erosion has gotten in the south. Toledo Correspondent, Paul Mahung, was on the tour and filed this report.
Protected Areas for Conservation Trust and media personnel yesterday visited a site for climate change adaptation projects in Port Honduras Marine Reserve. Members of the visiting group were taken to Abalone Caye which is co-managed by Toledo Institute for Development and Environment and Belize Fisheries Department where they got a first-hand view of the physical landmass and environment of the island and were addressed by TIDE’s Executive Director Celia Mahung.
Celia Mahung, Executive Director, TIDE: “So we’re at Abalone Caye which is the ranger station for the TIDE Rangers and also personnel of the Belize Coast Guard. We’ve been seeing over the years increased erosion at Abalone Caye and seven years ago or so we had to decide whether we relocate from Abalone Caye or we adapt and find ways of adapting to the weather conditions that we were facing. After consultations, we decided to invest in bringing boulders from inland Toledo putting them in baskets to enclose the island particularly in areas where the wave action was high. After a couple of months, we did see improvement in erosion at the island and had we not done that we would have definitely lost the range base and the island. So we continued to invest with funding from PACT, from MARFUN and German Cooperation to continue with the wall around the island and we’ve seen significant changes. We also planted mangroves in tubes that are resistant to the wave action and that has helped to stabilize the island to some extent. We are in the process right now of conducting a feasibility study doing an EIA and implementing recommendations from the feasibility study in order to continue to invest in restoring Abalone Caye. We are definitely grateful to PACT and the Getch Foundation for this investment on the island as I said before this ranger base plays a critical role in the management of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve.
Protected Areas for Conservation Trust’s executive director Nayari Diaz Perez spoke of the project.
“PACT partnered with the Getch Foundation in a project to build the resiliency of four marine protected areas in Southern Belize to southern Belize to the effects of climate change. The Port Honduras Marine Reserve is one of those four protected areas where the program will be investing. We are looking at an investment of a little over $350,000 to address the erosion problem that we are seeing now at Abalone Caye. Abalone Caye is a very crucial case within the Port Honduras Marine Reserve because it is the center of the management operations for the protection of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve.”
Perez also commented that in addition to the project in Port Honduras Marine Reserve the three other marine protected areas included in the project area Southwater Caye Marine Reserve, Laughing Bird Caye National Park and Gladden Split and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve in Southern Belize.