The San Pedro Tour Guide Association (SPTGA), since the early 80's, has worked to obtain grants to secure the purchase of mooring buoys to be placed at the 35 dive sites along the coral reef that lies just a couple miles off the shores of Ambergris Caye at its furthest point. The mooring buoys serve to protect the very fragile reef eco-system and the thousands of marine lives that reside within by dissuading the usage of anchors by vessels that visit the various sites. The SPTGA recently made an agreement with the Coral Reef Alliance and a private investor, Mr. Jim Hanson, to acquire funding to place six mooring buoys outside the reef at Mexico Rocks and 12 inside the reef.
The SPTGA matches grants by providing the actual labor for the mooring projects. On Monday night, September 14th members of the SPTGA were in full force outside the Hol Chan Marine Reserve office, preparing mooring buoys for the Mexico Rocks area. Throughout the week, the mooring buoys were being prepared and anchored in concrete platforms measuring 3"x3"x2", then placed on the sea bed at pre designated locations. Each mooring buoy, plus labor, costs an approximate $3,500.00BZ, bringing the total cost of the Mexico Rocks Mooring Project at $63,000.00BZ.
The SPTGA is currently working with the various tour operators on the island to sign contracts, giving the responsibility for the maintenance of four moorings buoys per year to each tour operator. President of the SPTGA, Billy Leslie adds, "The general public using the Mexico Rocks area for snorkeling, and making use of the moorings - please ensure that you respect the policy of using mooring buoys by allowing others use of the buoys as well. Unquestionably, do not fish off the buoys and please do your part to help us in our pursuit to protect our coral reef so that our children and our children's children may have the opportunity to enjoy this wonder of nature".
Billy takes this opportunity to extend sincere thanks to the Coral Reef Alliance, Hol Chan Marine Reserve Staff, Jim Hanson, and especially Mr. Don Listwin and Hanson Perkins, who have all contributed invaluably towards the success of this much needed project.