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NGO calls for moratorium on dredging off Placencia Coast

Fragments of Hope is a Placencia based organization that does reef restoration and mangrove replanting.  In April Fragments of Hope reported a dredging that was affecting coral patch reef to the government as well as an additional development in the Placencia Lagoon because the silt was affecting the corals as well as fishing grounds, but their pleas to the Government had been mostly ignored. Love News spoke to Lisa Carne of Fragments of Hope, who has been assessing the situation.

Lisa Carne, Fragments of HOPE: “I got reports that dredging was occuring just North of Little People Caye for the previous five days.  I had been out at Glover’s Reef doing other surveys to beginning August 29th. We started making reports first on the surface and then on the following day from underneath the impact site to all the relevant authorities and also on facebook showing its mother Corals, the impact site etc.  and we kept doing this through September 5th and we were not getting any responses other than we heard it’s the Department of Mining. We sent formal letters to the Department of Mining since the beginning first of October asking for a Moratorium on dredging near Placencia because we have doing mapping in this area for over 10 years and there are lots and lots of critically endangered acro corals here which the common names are Staghorn and Elkhorn and these were listed on the IENC red list in 2008 as critically endangered which means one step away from being extinct in the wild. What we are asking for is that we are given time to map all these entire areas because the technology exist now to do it appropriately. High resolution underwater mapping and in our letter to the Ministry of Natural Resources Department of Mining Ms. Michael Alvarez we outlined this. We have the connections, we can find the funds, sadly we found out that just yesterday DEO actually approved more dredging at the same site.”

Fragments of Hope is not alone as it has been joined by Oceana Belize, the World Wildlife Fund and the Belize Tourism Industry Association and the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy. They have joined together to formally request that the Ministry of Natural Resources place a moratorium on all offshore dredging permits near Placencia.