World Wildlife Fund teams with Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute in smart coast project; engages stakeholders on Ambergris Caye
On Thursday, January 23rd representatives from the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) along with members from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) engaged with stakeholders in San Pedro Town to present a project entitled ‘Climate Smarting Marine Protected Areas and Coastal Management in the Mesoamerican Reef Region.’ The project aims to increase awareness in coastal communities about the dangers posed to their natural resources and what mechanisms can be adopted to tackle the environmental challenges.
According to Azelea Gillett, Coastal Planning Technician at CZMAI, the project is being done under WWF’s watch and plans to develop and implement model outputs for coastal vulnerability, tourism and sediment retention. The session in San Pedro saw a handful of stakeholders, who were engaged and asked for their input in order to validate the models. “The input of the stakeholders in this area of the country is vital to validate the models and go to the next step,” said Gillett. “The next phase of the project will see these models being used to develop certain policies and make it available to protected areas managers to further enforce their regulations.” Gillett stated that the goal is to promote the protection of coastal areas as it is vulnerable to natural and man-made disaster. They also aim to educate the coastal population about the importance of certain resources like mangroves, which protect the shorelines.
WWF’s Roberto Pott is heading the program, and he explained that many of Belize’s coastal communities need to start acting now if they want to save their livelihood: fishing. “There is a need to understand that mangroves are extremely important for any coastal community. It can protect against storms, and provide a nursing grounds for the replenishment of fish stock,” he said. Pott explained that the fish population along Belizean waters is decreasing, with little opportunities for certain fish species to reproduce. Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun