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Help Save Cayo Rosario #531283
07/11/18 01:35 PM
07/11/18 01:35 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,617
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

JOIN US TO PROTECT BELIZE’S HOL CHAN MARINE RESERVE

SAY NO TO DREDGING AND OVER THE WATER STRUCTURES IN OUR MARINE RESERVE!!!

Say NO to the recently approved destructive development at Cayo Rosario in the midst of Belize's Hol Chan Marine Reserve!

“The proposed development is totally inappropriate for this location…. There is zero doubt that it will cause serious harm to the area fishery and to the overall flats ecosystem that surrounds the island.”
- Jim Klug, Director of Operations, Yellow Dog Fly Fishing


“The development plan is ill-conceived, not appropriate for these habitats, and will damage the economically and culturally important flats fishery.”
- Dr Aaron Adams, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust


Belize is home to the second longest barrier reef in the world. This diverse and delicate eco-system needs our help now more than ever, not only for the marine life but for the people of Belize. Our coastal economy is reliant on our reef and these waters.


In 2015, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Belize’s most visited marine reserve was expanded to include over 135 sq miles of shoals, wetlands, mangrove cayes and expansive flats. The purpose of the expansion was to forever preserve an invaluable nursery for our Belize Barrier reef and vital habitat for the prized and protected permit, tarpon and bonefish.


This reserve is now in imminent danger with a recently approved development project on and around tiny Cayo Rosario (Rosary Caye “Key”). The government of Belize has approved both large scale dredging and massive over-the-water construction around the small island. The pristine flats around Rosario are some of the finest permit flats in the country. The fly fishing industry directly and indirectly supports 1000’s of jobs on Ambergris Caye and attracts many more visitors to the island each year.

Take Action and Speak Out!!!

Voice your opposition by e-mailing the following:

Follow us on Instagram at: @DefendCayoRosario! #defendcayorosario

For more information, visit defendcayorosario.com


Join Us Now: Defend Cayo Rosario and Protect What Makes Belize Special
What if someone wanted to dredge tens of thousands of tons of sand from Belize’s Hol Chan Marine Reserve? An area laboriously added to the marine reserve only a few years ago to be protected forever as a nursery for our barrier reef and habitat for the prized permit. An area that supports all of us on this island either directly or indirectly. What if they wanted to attempt to compete with Jamaica or Fiji by building a massive off-island dock with over 50 over-the-water structures right in the middle of that marine park? You might think that is ridiculous. Why would we compete with those countries?


Re: Help Save Cayo Rosario [Re: Marty] #531378
07/18/18 11:46 AM
07/18/18 11:46 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,617
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Cayo Rosario Project - Official Letter of Objection

An official letter of objection on the Cayo Rosario Project was delivered yesterday, July 17, 2018, to San Pedro Town Mayor Daniel Guerrero at the San Pedro Town Council. The letter was jointly signed by Belize Tourism Industry Association, WWF, Oceana, Belize Institute of Environment law and Policy and the Belize Audubon Society stating, “We write to inform that we stand with the guides, businesses and people of Ambergris Caye who say no to dredging and no to over-the-water structures in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.”

Mayor Daniel Guerrero
San Pedro Town Council
Barrier Reef Drive
San Pedro Town
Ambergris Caye

July 17th 2018

Good day Mayor Danny,
We have been made to understand that approval of the Cayo Rosario project by the San Pedro Town Council and the Hol Chan Marine Board is pending. We write to inform that we stand with the guides, businesses and people of Ambergris Caye who say no to dredging and no to over-the-water structures in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. We emphasize that the opposition of this project is rooted in the destruction of the sea floor via dredging and to the over-the-water structures that will impede the livelihoods of Belizean fishermen.

We are sure you have joined in the national celebration of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) recent decision to remove Belize’s World Heritage Site from the Sites In Danger list. One of the reasons we were put on the Sites In Danger list in 2009 was because of approved development activities that undermined the health and integrity of our World Heritage Site; places of universal and outstanding value. Given that the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the oldest and most successful marine protected area in terms of ecosystem and fish stock protection, approval of unsustainable tourism development activities might once again raise questions about Belize’s responsible stewardship of her world renowned marine resources.

We also point out that the new Mangrove Act (attached) which came into law June 23rd, 2018 states:

“The issuing authority shall not issue a permit for the alteration or selective trimming of
(a) mangrovesinareasknowntobeanactivenestingsiteorrestingorbreedingareaforacolonyor conspicuous concentration of birds, including but not limited to pelicans, spoonbills, herons, storks, boobies, frigate birds, and egrets
(c) mangroves within existing national parks, nature reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural
monuments or other protected areas as defined and described in the National Protected Areas
System Act.”
*Priority areas include:
*Shipstern Lagoon and cayes to sea
*All other cayes (inside barrier and atolls)
*Ambergris Caye, Cangrejo

Review of the National Protected Areas System Act (attached) shows that the law also allows for the inclusion as ‘special management areas’ for protection of (e.g.) bird colonies. The NPAS Policy supports this with: 

“Special Management Area” is recommended as an additional designation to cover areas in the landscape or seascape requiring management interventions. These would include (but not necessarily be limited to):
▪ Biological Corridors
▪ Bird Nesting Colonies
▪ Turtle Nesting Beaches
▪ River mouths in areas of high boat / manatee conflict (Belize River, Sittee River)
Where feasible, cayes, inundated mangrove ranges and critical coastal fringing mangrove should be integrated within marine protected areas under the relevant site legislation...”

We therefore call on the San Pedro Town Council to not approve any dredging and over-the-water structures within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve by the Cayo Rosario project or any other pending/future development project to safeguard our invaluable marine resources and the Belizeans who depend on them daily.

We look forward to your response.

Thank you.
Sincerely,

Belize Tourism Industry Association
WWF
Oceana
Belize Institute of Environment law and Policy
Belize Audubon Society


Re: Help Save Cayo Rosario [Re: Marty] #531416
07/20/18 09:52 AM
07/20/18 09:52 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,617
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

More Unite to Say NO to Over-the-Water Structures and Dredging in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Press Release- Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development – July 19, 2018 - Last week, the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development (ACCSD) launched a social media campaign in opposition to over-the-water structures and dredging on Cayo Rosario within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. A new logo and website, DefendCayoRosario.com, were shared by individuals, groups and businesses in Belize and around the world to support the Tour Guides, Tour Operators, Fishing Guides and residents of Ambergris Caye who unanimously say NO to destructive development in the reserve.

Cayo Rosario is a five-acre island on the leeward side of Ambergris Caye directly west of the Secret Beach area. The caye is protected as part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the most visited site in the country. A new development has recently been approved by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) to build 54 over-the-water cabañas on two piers, 50 on-land bungalows as well as a spa and restaurant on the small mangrove caye.

Over social media and through the new website, overwhelming opposition to the development was shared with hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

In a significant display of unity, on July 17th, a letter signed by the Belize Tourism Association Industry (BTIA), World Wildlife Federation (WWF), Oceana Belize, Belize Institute of Environmental Law & Policy (BELPO) and the Belize Audubon Society was sent to San Pedro’s Mayor Daniel Guerrero asking that he take official stand against this project.

The Department of the Environment has spoken twice this week to the national news media about the Cayo Rosario project. On July 16th, Martin Alegria, the Chief Environmental Officer suggested to Love FM that the dredging for the Cayo Rosario project will not pose a serious threat. He stated that the dredging will be “minimal and hopefully done manually”.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project calls for 55,000 cubic meters of dredging (over 80,000 metric tons of sand) - to fill in and around the island. This very seabed that will be dredged is an integral part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, nationally protected as the invaluable nursery for the Belize Barrier Reef and as the feeding grounds for our protected bonefish, tarpon and permit.

The stance remains firm - build on your island but do not build over the Hol Chan Marine Reserve or dredge within the protected area.

Many expert viewpoints were formally expressed to the members of the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) during their approval process for this development. They were unanimous against the Cayo Rosario project. An example is this statement from Dr. Aaron Adams of the Bonefish &Tarpon Trust. “The development plan is ill-conceived, not appropriate for these habitats, and will damage the economically and culturally important flats fishery.”

On July 17, 2018, on Channel 5 News, the Minister of the Environment, Omar Figueroa suggested that this project is not massive and that significant concessions were made by the developer during the approval process.

The number of over-the-water bungalows was reduced from 90 presented during the public EIA meeting to the final 54.

The ACCSD agrees that “massive” is a relative term. But the approved project at Cayo Rosario will be one of the largest hotel developments not just on Ambergris Caye but in the entire country. The large over-the-water footprint, the huge amount of dredging and the underwater pipelines to and from Ambergris Caye are unprecedented in Belize waters and a complete contradiction to the purpose of a marine reserve.

The goal has not changed - to stand together to say NO to over-the-water and dredging development in Hol Chan Marine Reserve.

The ACCSD’s mission is to support and promote sustainable development on Ambergris Caye and its surrounding areas through education, awareness and citizen involvement.

Please see our website www.defendcayorosario.com for information or to ask any questions.


Re: Help Save Cayo Rosario [Re: Marty] #531436
07/22/18 05:56 AM
07/22/18 05:56 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,617
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Environmental authorities justify project at Cayo Rosario; islanders oppose

Ambergris Caye residents are extremely concerned following the approval of a tourism project on Cayo Rosario off the north-west coast of the island. Tourism stakeholders, fishermen, and residents have been opposing the development on the 10-acre island, as it sits within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.

Despite widespread outcry warning the Government of Belize that such a project could have a huge impact on the fly fishing industry that provides a livelihood for many Belizeans, dredging was approved on Cayo Rosario, with the justification that it poses no threat to the marine reserve, and that the size of the development has been significantly scaled down. Initially, the plan for the proposed project included some 90 over- the- water structures, and several other buildings on the island itself. It is alleged that the National Appraisal Environment Committee (NEAC) asked the developers to scale down the project. A few changes were made and the over-the-water structures were cut down to 54, but on the island itself, the plan is to build 50 additional buildings, a club, spa, restaurant and two docks. There also a beach reclamation project that will require dredging.

Despite widespread outcry warning the Government of Belize that such a project could have a huge impact on the fly fishing industry that provides a livelihood for many Belizeans, dredging was approved on Cayo Rosario, with the justification that it poses no threat to the marine reserve, and that the size of the development has been significantly scaled down.

Initially, the plan for the proposed project included some 90 over- the- water structures, and several other buildings on the island itself. It is alleged that the National Appraisal Environment Committee (NEAC) asked the developers to scale down the project. A few changes were made and the over-the-water structures were cut down to 54, but on the island itself, the plan is to build 50 additional buildings, a club, spa, restaurant and two docks. There also a beach reclamation project that will require dredging.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun




Re: Help Save Cayo Rosario [Re: Marty] #531653
08/04/18 04:43 AM
08/04/18 04:43 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,617
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Tourism Minister Breaks His Silence on Cayo Rosario Project

Cayo Rosario is back in the headlines tonight. The island is located on west Ambergris Caye and is part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve expansion where a massive development is being proposed. The multimillion-dollar investment already has an approved ECP from the Department of the Environment. It involves the construction of more than forty over-the-water structures atop two piers at the southern end of the island on the ten acre property. The controversial development has raised the ire of San Pedranos and environmentalists because of the threat it presents to the marine environment and numerous activities have been organized in opposition of the massive project.  The Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia Junior, has by and large remained silent to the mounting opposition to the luxury development, but today, he broke his silence.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

A multimillion dollar tourism development on a private caye in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve continues to stir controversy, despite the National Environmental Appraisal Committee having given the green light for works to commence. While he has not had an active role in the process, Tourism Minister and Belize Rural South area rep, Manuel Heredia Junior stands in solidarity with stakeholders who have come out against the project.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“We take a look physically on site and then probably give our input or recommendations as to what we believe is suitable for the area, until then, I have to be on the side of my electorate, I have to be on the side of the tour guides because I depend on them at the end of the day. So I will always been on the side of the majority who wants it or not; even though, like I mentioned before, I do believe in sustainable development. I assist and help in whatever capacity I can with developers, but nonetheless, this is one that I believe that I have very little to do with decision-making.”

Back in mid-May, San Pedranos, particularly stakeholders in the fisheries and tourism industries, expressed their discontent about the project, which initially called for ninety over the water structures among massive dredging in the reserve. Since then, the project plan has been scaled down where no dredging is permitted and the hovering structures were cut down by half.

Dr. Omar Figueroa, Minister of State, Ministry of Environment [File: July 17th, 2018]

“The initial proposal called for quite a few over the water structures. I believe NEAC met a few weeks ago and the level of development was scaled down completely, scaled down significantly. And so it might be important, you know, you see you question about massive development is already misleading in so many ways. It is important to get the facts when we talk about massive. There is a proposal there to develop. It does involve over the water structures, whether it is massive or not, you will really need to look at all the details. I know for a fact it was scaled down significantly from the original proposal and a series of measures were put in place to protect the environment out there. I am not sure where we are with the dredging licenses and stuff; that you would need to speak with the Ministry of Natural Resources.”

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“I do have a problem whenever the number of over the water structures will be done in any project that will be done. And I believe that I should have been a key person in any of this major project. I was with the Blackadore Development, but very little with this Cayo Rosario one. If it is true that it is forty-two over the water structure that has been approved, I believe it is too much, personally. With the dredging that they already were going to be granted a permit, I put my outcry towards dredging around those shoals in Cayo Rosario. If you recall, those shoals were sold by the past administration in their time and I fought together with the tour guides and Hol Chan to ensure that our government reversed that and they were compensated elsewhere.”

In the wake of the outcry, the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development was formed. Through a sustained campaign, their mission is to protect and enhance natural resources without compromising the livelihood of this and future generations. As tour guide Omar Arceo put it, building on crown land and the effects to the marine reserve is what they are fighting for.

Omar Arceo, Tour Guide [File: May 16th, 2018]

“To build on the island is not a problem. But to build on the crown land, all the bajos where we do fly fishing, permit, tarpon and bone fish, all around the island is a shallow flat. That is what we are fighting for, we are fighting for that quest that they are not supposed to touch one inch of that flat where I have made my life. Where other guys from the whole town, Pescador, Go Fish, Blue-Bone fish, private users in general have been using it for more than one hundred years but the fly-fishing started in the early seventies. So, right now, we are seeing that they will kill this flat; take it to zero.”

Heredia Junior says that a site visit is being organized for a delegation including himself, Figueroa and stakeholders to inspect the island. He pledges that interventions will be made where necessary to avoid any conflict between the developer and stakeholders.

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“I believe that as soon as possible we supposed to go on site, look at what is there so that we can tell the developer this is what we feel. If the final approval is not to the liking of the groups over here like tour guides, tour operators, Hol Chan Marine Reserve so that as soon as the project gets started, that they are going over there to do a demonstration which is not good for the industry, not good for the tour guides, not good for myself because I don’t believe in confrontations.”

Channel 5


Re: Help Save Cayo Rosario [Re: Marty] #531663
08/04/18 06:21 AM
08/04/18 06:21 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,663
Illinois, Arkansas,South Dakot...
bywarren Offline
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bywarren  Offline
I don't know what it is called in political terms, but on the ranch we call it "closing the barn door after the horse is out".

Re: Help Save Cayo Rosario [Re: Marty] #531664
08/04/18 07:01 AM
08/04/18 07:01 AM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,354
Mine Hill NJ
dabunk Offline
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dabunk  Offline
I love his quote "not good for myself because I don’t believe in confrontations." So let them get away with illegal activities and do not confront them !!

Re: Help Save Cayo Rosario [Re: Marty] #531727
08/08/18 03:54 AM
08/08/18 03:54 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,617
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

ACCSD Gear Up to Fight Cayo Rosario Project

The National Environment Appraisal Committee has already approved the multimillion-dollar development on Cayo Rosario, located within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The mega tourism project initially called for ninety over the water structures as well as dredging in the protected area. That was met with resistance from San Pedranos and environmentalists, who have since re-energized the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development. The project has since been scaled down to forty plus over the water structures and no dredging. But the group says it will leave no stone unturned to stop the controversial project and others that cause damage to the marine ecosystem. Councillor Gary Greif is the co-vice chair.

Gary Grief, Co-Vice Chair, ACCSD

“We are continuously discussing issues like this. I remember a few years back when the Hol Chan Marine Reserve boundaries were expanded to include west of ambergris Caye which includes Cayo Rosario; the entire island was in a celebratory move. Now we fast forward to today when it is being considered by Central Government and the Department of the Environment to allow dredging and the construction of over the water structures in a marine reserve. You said it right, it energized the people of San Pedro to stand united and energize the ACCSD to reform. What we have been doing is exploring every avenue that we can to stop the construction of that project. We are seeking legal counsel; we are trying to get support from the public which is very easy because they understand how precious that area is. We wanna be in a situation at ACCSD to no longer be playing whack-a-mole. Every—and I’ll use the word ridiculous—every ridiculous concept that comes around, we don’t have to fight it. We want to be in a situation where local representation are allowed in the board, for example like NEAC, that are approving said projects.”

Channel 5


Re: Help Save Cayo Rosario [Re: Marty] #531747
08/09/18 05:16 AM
08/09/18 05:16 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,617
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Area Rep: Restraint For Cayo Rosario

The press also asked Heredia about a proposed development that has been approved for Cayo Rosario.

That’s a 10-acre island off the northwest coast of San Pedro.  According to island environmentalists, and tourist industry stakeholders, this type of development will destroy the rich natural habitat of the wildlife that call Cayo Rosario home. They also point to the dredging that needs to be done to install more than 80 over-the-water structures, which the developer has proposed for the Caye.

The bottom line is that there are residents of San Pedro who don’t want this project to proceed any further and opponents have organized themselves into a group call the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development.

They’ve been attempting to lobby their town council, the relevant Government agencies, and the conservation community for support. They’ve even launched their own website defendcayorosario.com.

So, they’re well organized, and it seems that they have an ally in their Area Representative, Manuel Heredia Jr. Today, he told us that he wasn’t able to give much input at the initial stages, but he is trying to intervene where he can:

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. - Area Rep, Belize Rural South
"Yesterday the minister of the environment and myself spoke and I told him about what the concern of the tour guides and Hol Chan marine reserve. We have agreed that next week, we will take an onsite visit of the island, analyse what we're supposed to do, what is the maximum we are supposed to accept because at this point if I told you - I think last week, they believe the number over the water structure is exaggerated, it’s too much. I personally believe knowing the island, that if you put those 42 over the water structures on the island itself, it will not fit over there. So why approve so many over and I must reiterate again, that I had very little participation in the decision making of the approval of this, which I believe as the area rep and as the minister of tourism since it is a tourism project, I should have been consulted a lot more."

Reporter
"Despite the approval from NEAC, you're saying that your intervention can see maybe the green light being reversed?"

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr.
"I cannot speak for them but what I can say there is no government that likes a confrontation with any group or any community. So in this case they have threatened they will go the numbers of what they are whenever the first pile is being put that they will go in numbers to oppose it and that is what I told the minister of environment that we must go over there and if we can do our part to make sure that we can avoid this unnecessary thing, then let us do so."

Reporter
"Even at the risk of losing the project itself?"

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr.
"My people come before anything else you know."

Cayo Rosario is also a part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. This was brought up by the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development in their letter to Mayor Daniel Guerrero. That letter reminds the mayor that Belize’s Barrier Reef system was just recently removed from UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites in danger. 

Channel 7



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