Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Topic Options
#504137 - 05/10/15 10:21 AM Offshore drilling Great Blue Hole
DeeJay Offline

#504139 - 05/10/15 11:47 AM Re: Offshore drilling Great Blue Hole [Re: DeeJay]
DeeJay Offline
Belize offshore oil plan sparks worries for reefs, fisheries

Belize is considering new offshore drilling regulations that could open nearly the entire coast to exploration and exploitation, environmental groups have warned, calling it a threat to vital reefs, fisheries and tourism concerns.

The proposal recently made public by the Ministry of Energy would even allow drilling in the vicinity of the Great Blue Hole, a world-famous diving destination that can be seen from space and looks just like what its name suggests, the U.S.-based activist group Oceana said.

“They’ve declared open-season on almost 99 percent of Belize’s marine area,” Janelle Chanona, Oceana’s vice president for the Central American nation, said by phone from the capital, Belmopan. “That includes seven World Heritage sites, that includes marine protected areas … and it is unacceptable.”

The proposal is still in the draft stage. Government officials did not respond to requests for comment Thursday, but have said previously that they are considering possible modifications including feedback from groups like Oceana. Belize currently has a moratorium on offshore drilling.

Environmental experts say even a small oil spill could jeopardize the powdery-white-sand cays and turquoise waters that make tourism the Central American country’s leading source of foreign income, responsible for up to 25 percent of its GDP.

Activists say oil development also poses environmental concerns for Belize’s reefs, which in addition to being popular diving and snorkeling reserves are home to myriad marine species and help shelter the country from hurricanes and rising seas.

Chanona estimated the annual value of reef protection at $750 million.

Past oil exploration efforts have not resulted in productive wells, and there is no proof that viable reserves lie beneath the Caribbean sea floor off Belize. The big drop in oil prices over the last year has also dampened enthusiasm for exploration of unproven or unconventional fields around Latin America.

But even development that falls short of extracting crude has an impact, experts say. Drilling exploratory wells can introduce mud into ecosystems, for example, and seismic testing can interfere with dolphins’ ability to use sonar to identify food and predators, Chanona said.

Lawrence Epstein, who directs Belize operations for the Environmental Defense Fund, said 15,000 people, or about 5 percent of Belize’s population, depend on fisheries for their livelihoods, and those, too, could be at risk.

“By any measure, both the exploration and any sort of accident that might happen could damage the fishing industry as well as the tourism industry,” Epstein said.

Chanona said Oceana sent the government a report documenting its concerns and that officials promised to take it into account during a review in the coming months before a final policy is formalized, something that could happen by the end of the year.

But activists are sounding the alarm now, saying Belize has a spotty record on preservation. As one recent example, they point to a road-builder’s unauthorized 2013 bulldozing of one of Belize’s biggest Mayan pyramids to scavenge rock.

“The (oil) proposal doesn’t have any legal backing in place right now, but that it has been presented as a draft … becomes a very poor starting point for meaningful, honest conversation,” Chanona said. “How do you even begin to talk about having the Great Blue Hole up for consideration as part of your zonation plan?”

Seattle Times


Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!

Things to do

Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Love FM
The Reporter
Caye Caulker

TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater

San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
Mini Chat

Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31
Who's Online
0 registered (), 20 Guests and 10 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
18,632 Registered Members
44 Forums
63,698 Topics
461,211 Posts

Most users ever online: 1,262 @ 06/10/07 02:16 PM

AmbergrisCaye.com CayeCaulker.org HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town
BelizeSearch.com Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History
BelizeNews.com Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory
BelizeCards.com SanPedroDaily.com Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.