CORAL REEF DYNAMITING
February 2, 2000
Carlos Lopez Santos
Dear Mr. Santos,
As the President of Green Reef, the Belize focal non-governmental organization (NGO) of the Belize Mexico Alliance for the Management of Common Coastal Resources (BEMAMCCR), I am writing in regards to the recent activity occurring in the channel north of Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve (BCMR). We have recently become aware of activities taking place to open up the channel, including dredging and dynamiting. As a member of BEMAMCCR, we at Green Reef feel that it is imperative that we address this issue immediatly.
On Sunday, February 2, 2000, representatives from the Belize Fisheries Department investigated the alleged activity. Although no activity was taking place on February 2nd, there was evidence that dynamiting activity had occurred just 1 kilometer from the Belize-Mexico border, leaving several patches of coral reef either damaged or even removed. Furthermore, a ranger at BCMR recently reported that dead fish and sea turtles have washed up on the shore of the marine reserve, presumably due to the dynamiting.
During this field trip, Fishery representatives also interviewed several community members of Xcalak, a fishing village located in close proximity to the activity. Those community members interviewed were not in support of the current activity and feel that they should have been consulted prior to the onset of the dynamiting. Not surprisingly, fishermen and tour guides, whose livelihood greatly depends on the marine resources of the area, are also against the dredging and dynamiting activity.
This activity, which is clearly damaging and threatening the marine resources shared by both Mexico and Belize, cannot be tolerated. We, at Green Reef, feel that addressing this issue is the ideal opportunity to assert the objectives of BEMAMCCR, which include conservation of marine resources and environmental problem solving. We also feel that action must take place now, before it becomes too late.
We hope that you find this information useful. If you would like access to the interviews obtained by the Fisheries Department, please contact me at (226-3739). Furthermore, if you have information in regards to this issue that you would like to share with us, we would greatly appreciate it.
It's time to take action against such crimes to the environment--let's have BEMAMCCR lead the way!
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