The Northern Belize Coastal Complex (NBCC) comprises of three protected areas: Hol Chan and Bacalar Chico Marine Reserves, and the Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. These three protected areas have combined efforts to strengthen protection of the ecosystems at the seascape level through a collaborative project founded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Program. The project aims to improve management effectiveness across the NBCC.

One aspect of the project is to improve the enforcement capacities within these protected areas. Regular joint patrols between the three protected areas, along with security forces (Belize Coast Guard and Police) are being conducted on the leeward side of Ambergris Caye extending to the main coast. To improve communication during these patrols SPOT X devices were purchased and handed over to each protected area. Hol Chan and Bacalar Chico recently received their SPOT X device in a brief handing over held at the Bacalar field station.

SPOT X provides reliable, 2-way satellite communications so enforcement personnel can stay connected even in areas with low cell phone coverage. It will ensure that patrol teams can communicate with each other and their main offices at all times.

This collaborative effort between the three areas is innovative in its approach and the hope is for it to be a model for collaboration in other protected areas not only in Belize but globally.

HCMR would like to thank the project funders GEF Small Grants Programme - Belize, and our partners in this journey Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD), and the Belize Fisheries Department.

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