What is Green Reef Doing? - by Jill Hepp

    As the year 2000 comes to a close, Green Reef is beginning to explore some very exciting projects that will benefit both the community of San Pedro and several other villages along the coast of Belize. Green Reef has spent considerable time during the last several months preparing project proposals and has recently been informed that several of the projects have been accepted and subsequent funding has been approved.   

    Green Reef facilitated Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute's annual Manatee Week during the month of November. This event was open to the public and over 450 school children toured the displays and heard presentations given by the two full-time Green Reef volunteers. Green Reef wishes to thank the participating schools and offers an invitation to interested teachers to contact the organization to obtain further information on coral reef ecology and environmental education. Green Reef is also beginning preparations to offer weekly presentations that will focus on coral reef ecology and conservation, which will be open to all residents and tourists. Green Reef hopes to utilize the resources of the many local tour guides to help facilitate these weekly presentations.

Reef Brief is a weekly column published in the San Pedro Sun
    Green Reef is implementing the first stages of a year-long Nassau Grouper Research and Advocacy Program, which will attempt to accomplish several objectives. The Nassau Grouper populations in Belize are suspected to be severely declining and therefore need some type of management to ensure that this species is not completely over-fished. The first objective of the project is to obtain a quantitative status of the population through video surveys of the spawning aggregation banks to determine what management options could be pursued. The second objective of the project is to determine the level of awareness that fishermen and the public have concerning the plight of this fishery. Community consultations and interviews with stakeholders will be conducted during this phase of the project. The third objective of the project is to promote an advocacy and educational campaign to help implement management measures which will be decided on during a national workshop with all involved stakeholders. During this phase of the project, legislation will be drafted and presented to the government in order to promote responsible use of this valuable natural resource. Economic alternative training will also be presented to the fishermen who use the fishery in order to provide means of diversifying their income base. This project is being funded through several grant agencies and Green Reef will be working in cooperation with existing Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and research agencies to perform the stock assessments. 

    Through a grant provided through Professional Association of Diving Instructors' (PADI) "Project AWARE," Green Reef will be purchasing approximately twenty reef mooring buoys. These buoys will replace some of the fifty original buoys that Green Reef had installed at various local dives sites. A large number of these buoys were lost to either Hurricane Mitch or Hurricane Keith. The mooring buoy system is designed to protect coral reefs from anchor destruction by embedding a stainless steel mooring pin into the hard substrate within the coral reef and attaching a floating buoy. This system causes very little disturbance to the surrounding habitat and provides easier anchoring for dive operators and fisherman. Green Reef wishes to encourage local users to actively participate in the preparation, installation and maintenance of the mooring systems.

    Green Reef wishes to promote community participation in all of its projects. Green Reef is especially interested in obtaining support for the weekly lectures and assistance with the installation of the mooring buoys. Please contact Green Reef (email: [email protected] or 026-2833 or 026-3254 extension 243) if you foresee being able to provide assistance with these projects.

If you have a topic you would like featured in Reef Brief, or would just like to help us, please call 2833, or E-mail: - [email protected].

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