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Activities at Cayo Rosario paused, Fishermen protest activities

Posted By: Marty

Activities at Cayo Rosario paused, Fishermen protest activities - 03/06/20 11:58 AM

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Irregularities in building permit are discovered

Development activities at Cayo Rosario, a small island within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Zone IV on the northwest coast of Ambergris Caye once again has islanders concerned. A live feed on social media on Wednesday, March 4th showed what appeared to be a barge transporting heavy machinery to the small island. A large pile of rock material could also be observed on the barge, which is allegedly being used for construction. Information provided to The San Pedro Sun is that the developer has a permit to build a temporary bulkhead, and that material for its development is being barged, rather than extracted from the seabed. However, as of Thursday, March 5th, activities on the island have paused, as personnel from the Physical Planning within the Ministry of Natural Resources will visit the island on Friday, March 6th, to address a reported breach in the compliance of the permit issued.

According to Hol Chan Executive Director Javier Paredes, they had the opportunity to view the permit, which states that the construction materials were to be placed north-side of an existing pier, and upon making checks, it was discovered that it is being placed further south of the designated area. This wrong placement resulted in a temporary pause of any further construction activity until personnel from the Ministry of Natural Resources visit the area and assess the situation. “We want everyone to know that we are aware of and are monitoring the issue very closely. We have increased patrols, and we are sensitive in terms of what is happening at Cayo Rosario,” said Paredes. He added that their technical team was the first to detect activities when surveyors and survey sticks were observed in front of the island, and they began engaging stakeholders on how best to approach this concern.

Late on Thursday afternoon, a group of stakeholders took boats to Cayo Rosario, where they held a peaceful demonstration. They hope that their movement sensitizes the local authorities on this issue and pushes them to inflect the least impact possible on this critical and sensitive eco-system.

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Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun
Top photo By Rebecca Coutant
Posted By: Marty

Re: Activities at Cayo Rosario paused, Fishermen protest activities - 03/06/20 12:16 PM

Protest against proposed tourism development at Cayo Rosario!
Islanders advocating for responsible and sustainable development!

Fisherfolk, stake holders, conservationists, environmentalists and those advocating for responsible, sustainable development gathered at Cayo Rosario to protest it's pending development with in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.




Click photos for more pictures!

The fly guides of Ambergris Caye, protesting the construction that has begun on Rosario Caye!!!!!

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San Pedro Fishermen Protest At Cayo Rosario

Sadly large scale dredging and massive over-the-water construction has been approved to take place at Cayo Rosario. Even though in 2015, Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr. and San Pedro Mayor Daniel Guerrero successfully proposed that the Hol Chan Marine Reserve be expanded to include over 135 square miles of sea grass beds, wetlands, mangrove cayes, shoals and flats. To forever preserve an invaluable nursery for our Belize Barrier Reef and safeguard vital habitats for the protected and economically lucrative, permit, tarpon and bonefish species.

Development activities at Cayo Rosario, a small island within the Local fishermen, stakeholders, island residents and even tourists were out on boats at Cayo Rosario to voice their concerns and hold a peaceful demonstration against the development taking place in hopes to bring awareness to local authorities on the negative impact that this development is creating.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the Ambergris Today
Posted By: Marty

Re: Activities at Cayo Rosario paused, Fishermen protest activities - 03/07/20 11:31 AM

Hol Chan Marine Reserve issues Press Release on the Cayo Rosario Situation:

The Cayo Rosario Island is located within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) conservation area of Zone E. This island was privately owned prior to the 2015 expansion of the reserve. In May 2018, an Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP) was granted to the Cayo Rosario Development Limited by the Department of Environment (DOE). This was an environmental clearance to proceed with development, provide that they obtain the necessary permits from the relevant government departments. While we do recognize that a developer has a right to develop within his property limits, HCMR’s jurisdiction begins outside the property limits.

Since the project was initially proposed, HCMR has not been in agreement with the development proposal and the subsequent EIA and ECP. Consequently, HCMR would like to clarify its position as regard to the Cayo Rosario:

* HCMR does not support over the water structures within the Conservation Zones.
* HCMR is strongly against and will always be opposed to dredging within the Conservation Zones.
* HCMR is aware that with the 2015 Zone E expansion, dredging may be considered within limited and suitably identified areas within the General Use Zones through the EIA process.
* HCMR is concerned of the potential damages to the ecosystem and disruptions to the livelihoods of traditional users.
* HCMR is aware that the EIA is not adequate and potential impacts of such development to the environment within the marine reserve was not considered and several major discrepancies and gaps in the EIA as it relates to these potential impacts have been identified.
* HCMR would like to clarify on the adequacy of the proposed waste management system and assurance that it mitigates against leakage into the natural environment.
* The development proposal has evolved and HCMR is unclear of what the final design is.
* It should be noted that these are the issues of both HCMR and the Fisheries Department.

Over the past week, HCMR has observed activities occurring at the island. These activities were related to the placement of survey pegs and the construction of a temporary bulkhead. As regards the construction of the bulkhead, HCMR was consulted on the need for a temporary bulkhead to receive construction materials. Subsequent to the consultation, the Fisheries Department issued a “No Objection Letter” which was used as the basis for the Ministry of Natural Resources to issue a license for the construction of said bulkhead. HCMR identified that the bulkhead was being constructed at the wrong location. We immediately contacted the relevant agencies to confirm the breach of the license conditions and a verbal stop order was issued to the developer pending a site inspection. The site visit by officers from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Fisheries Department and HCMT has occurred and based on the findings the stop order will remain in effect until a further decision can be made.

HCMR had previously called a meeting with the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development (ACCSD) and the heads of the San Pedro Tour Guide and Tour Operator Associations. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the most effective approach to address the matter as it relates to the traditional users of the area and those whose livelihoods depend on the conservation of this sensitive ecosystem. HCMR continues to be committed to maintaining the integrity of the ecosystem in the reserve, while promoting a balance with social, traditional uses and economic development.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Activities at Cayo Rosario paused, Fishermen protest activities - 03/14/20 11:56 AM

Stop order issued against development at Cayo Rosario

A formal stop order has reportedly been issued to halt development activities at Cayo Rosario, following a site inspection by members of the Physical Planning Unit at the Ministry of Natural Resources on Friday, March 6th. Island residents, particularly those in the fly fishing industry, welcome this latest update, which is seen as a protection of the sensitive marine environment near the tiny island that sits within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve on the north-west coast of Ambergris Caye.

No information has been forthcoming from the Physical Planning Unit, although attempts were made to reach out to them. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve, however, shared that the stop order remains in effect until a further decision is made regarding the proposed tourism development at Cayo Rosario. Islanders were outraged after a live feed on social media on March 4th depicted heavy machinery and construction material being barged to the island. The purpose was to allegedly build a temporary bulkhead for which the developer reportedly received a permit. However, Hol Chan found out that the bulkhead was being constructed at the wrong location as per the permit, triggering a halt on the project. While activities remain halted at Cayo Rosario, stakeholders and environmentalists will continue to monitor the area. They plan to further advocate with the rest of the island community hoping to raise awareness and protect the western ‘Bajos,’ flats that support the livelihood of many islanders.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun
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