Reef Week is being observed this week and there is a host of activities line up to celebrate. OCEANA in an effort to continue awareness on the importance of our Natural Resources specifically the reef, ventured into this project by inviting other organizations and the community. Vice president of OCEANA in Belize Audrey Matura Shepherd explained the purpose of Reef Week.
“The main objective is for Belizeans across this country whether you think you are on shore or inland that you recognize that you are people of the reef; that this reef that protects us is for all of us and so we must protect it in return. I can speak a lot about what we at OCEANA are doing and I know what some of the other groups are doing but the whole idea was that we put the idea out there and every person could have taken up the mantel and do their own share but we actually created a very nice documentary call meet a fisherman because we wanted Belizeans to appreciate the value of fishermen to the industry and how the fishermen rely heavily on the reef. Other activities we are having is definitely tomorrow taking a group of about forty students to do a tour a snorkeling tour of different area of the reef one of the stop over is going to at Caye Caulker for lunch but we are making it available to schools where they’re kids haven’t been to the reef and school will selecting who goes and then Thursday we are just supporting the other NGO’S and then on Friday we are going to have at Cama lounge in san Pedro we are going to a movie night and what is being featured the Blue Planet Documentary on coral of the sea and it’s about corals from the Caribbean to all the rest of the world so that people understand the value of coral reefs on a whole and that’s going to be a lovely and relaxing way to end your Fridays like a happy hour and it should be live and everything. On Saturday we are going to having the other NGO’S one of the things we will be doing by going to participate in band fest being one of the sponsors is to show support also to the schools and remind people that OCEANA is about protecting the marine resources of this country.”
And the week of activities will come to a close with a grand event hosted by OCEANA on Sunday by the San Cas Park located opposite the lighthouse where the Baron Bliss tomb lies. The event will feature a boat parade, Matura Shepherd says they already count with the participation of many organizations and businesses.
“What we will do for our particular boat, what we want would be for people willing to come in their swimsuit, to come on board our vessel. We will have music, drinks and snacks so that we feel like it’s a party. We will culminate at the San Cas Park where there is going to be what we call, a Reef Festival/Carnival. We will have food, drinks, creative games; Oceania is going to have a raffle, I showed you the items; it’s like $450 worth in gifts - there is something for the entire family and it’s only $2 for the raffle . One of the highlight for us is the band that is going to be out there, Sweet Payne - a very popular band; it’s going to be hyped up music, there is going to be a line of DJ ‘s who will also be entertaining so it should be a family event. Already I confirmed that the fishermen from Sarteneja are coming. They are going to be selling fry fish, stew beans and flour tortillas – it’s a perfect supper for a Sunday.”
Matura-Shepherd says that through this activity they hope to also through fun and education change the culture of how especially Belize City people view themselves as people of the reef.