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Hol Chan Marine Reserve Re-brands with New Logo and Launches Marine Station

Since the establishment of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in 1987, the name "Hol Chan" Mayan for "little channel" has come to represent conservation, protection, and biodiversity. The name is a symbol of the hard work and dedication of the Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker communities' efforts towards conservation within Belize. The logo uses the name that has come to symbolize the management organization and incorporates one of the many iconic species of the Reserve, the Southern Sting Ray. The different shades of blue represent the sky and the sea. The waves represent continuous motion, symbolizing the continuous hard work and dedication of the staff and management to maintain the ecological integrity of the Reserve, and support the community.





Congratulations Hol Chan Marine Reserve for the inauguration of the new Marine station!

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The Hol Chan Rebrand

And while those meetings will be business before pleasure, it doesn't hurt that they will be held in scenic San Pedro. And today, one of Belize's biggest conservation NGO launched their official rebranding. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is responsible for ensuring that Belize's blue economy and its barrier reef can be sustained for generations to come. But over the past year, they were struggling to fix their financial crises. But now with most of that behind them, they cut the ribbon on their newest marine station. Courtney Menzies was there and has this story:

Hol Chan Marine Reserve has long been synonymous with sustainable tourism and conservation of our greatest natural resource. And today, they've started down a new path with the launch of their new marine station.

And this rebranding, complete with a new logo, was necessary because, unbeknownst to the wider public, the reserve was sinking under the weight of its massive debt.

Ian Pou - Chairman, Hol Chan Marine Reserve
"Upon assuming office as chairman in January of 2021, under a new administration, we encountered an alarming financial status in which the organization was left with. Over $90,000 was owed to Hol Chan in accounts receivables. Moreover, what was even more alarming was the significant number of payables inherited by the new administration. Can you believe that we were left with not a single penny but instead a deficit of an overdraft accumulating of -$150,000. Employees were paid on a 50% salary reduction and to add insult to the injury, they then did not receive a salary for over three months while still fulfilling their required duties. This led to a total of $192,564.98 being owed to staff. We are not where we want to be but we are surely heading the right direction."

But financial woes weren't the only thing the reserve had to deal with the chairman lamented on vehicles and vessels left in disrepair and staff members caught up in illegal activity.

But the Minister of the Blue Economy commended the staff for the way they were able to turn the tides.

Hon. Andre Perez - Minister of The Blue Economy
"Like the phoenix, the Hol Chan that we met just a year ago and three months, has risen out of the ashes of financial risk management and neglect to now being a stellar example of a financially stable and thriving marine protected area. Today, Hol Chan is recognized for its innovative approach to protected area management, including important contribution to tourism, conservation, education, and research. This in essence embodies what is The Blue Economy all about."

And it's the reserve's important work that keeps the largest living reef in the world thriving, as pointed out by the prime minister.

Hon. John Briceno - Prime Minister
"When you think about San Pedro, you think about the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Anybody that I meet and they tell you they come to San Pedro, they will say, oh I went to Shark Ray Alley and I swan with the sharks, and I tell them we have them well trained, they don't eat white people. And for them it is quite an experience and that is only possible because we as a country and as a people had the foresight to be able to set aside an area here in San Pedro that we can protect hopefully perpetuity for our people for future generations."

According to the chairman, they were able to pay off the money owed to the staff. Additionally, they got the resources needed to repair their vehicles and boats.

Channel 7


Hol Chan Inaugurates New Marine Station

Today, a Hol Chan Marine Station was officially inaugurated in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. It also came with the unveiling of a new logo for the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. A News Five crew was on the island today and files this report.

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Hol Chan Marine Reserve encompasses a large area, covering approximately eighteen kilometres of coral reefs, mangrove forests, sea-grass beds and more and is used by fisher-folk and tourists alike. With a new Ministry of Blue Economy, there is a sharp focus on the collective responsibility of stakeholders on this reserve. Today marked the commencement of a new era at Hol Chan.

Andre Perez, Minister of Blue Economy

"We can take advantage of what our aquatic blue space has to offer in bounty so that we are able to harvest, we are able to enjoy so that it can affect not only food-wise, but touristically and that is all what the reef can offer. But at the same time, under the Blue Economy framework, that we must include the preservation of our environment. So put all of these things together becomes a shining example of what we can do using the maximum use of our blue aquatic space. Hol Chan stands out as the perfect example of the framework of the blue economy."

Prime Minister John Brice´┐Żo

"We stand out because Belizeans truly love our country; we truly love what we have and we are so proud of what we are doing today. As a government we are doing everything possible to be able to continue to maintain these reserves, to expand where it is necessary and to be able to create the necessary funding that is needed. As you all know last year we managed to work with the Nature Conservancy to set up what we call the blue bonds."

Following today's ceremony, there was a tour of a newly installed marine station.´┐Ż With a new outlook, there was also the launch of a new logo for the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.

Mariela Archer, Outreach & Marketing Manager, Hol Chan Marine Reserve

"Since the establishment of Hol Chan Marine Reserve in 1987, the name Hol Chan - Maya meaning for Little Channel - has come to represent conservation, protection and biodiversity. The name is a symbol of the hard work and dedication of the Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker communities, [and] their efforts towards conservation with Belize. The logo uses the name that has come to symbolise the management organization and incorporates one of the many iconic species of the reserve, the southern stingray. The different shades of blue represent the sky and the sea; the waves represent continuous motion symbolising the continuous hard work and dedication of the staff and management to maintain the ecologic integrity of the reserve and support of the community."

The move to take care of this aquatic blue space and preserving it was not without its challenges.

Ian Pou, Chairman, Hol Chan Marine Reserve

"This was no easy task as we were left nothing to hold on to but hope; hope that one day we will be able to uplift Hol Chan to where it was before. It was the same hope that kept us afloat with the ambition to keep going. Upon assuming office as chairman in January of 2021 under a new administration, we encountered the alarming financial status in which the organization was left with. To all our amazing stakeholders, believe it or not, you all have played a significant role in the restoration of our organization. We ask for your patience and continued support in our environmental effort. We are not where we want to be, but we are surely heading in the right direction."

During today's event, awards were handed out to a number of stakeholders without whose cooperation helps with the success of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.´┐Ż

Channel 5



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