World Oceans Day Celebrated

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 20, No. 23            June 10, 2010

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Appreciating the wonders of Belize’s reef at Goff’s Caye

    The celebration of “World Ocean Day 2010” kicked off with a day of activities on Goff’s Caye, on Saturday June 5th, encouraging appreciation and conservation of the wonders of our Barrier Reef under the theme “OCEANS of Life!”

    The event saw the participation of over 190 individuals. Among the participants were 150 students from St. John’s College, Galen University, the University of Belize among other Junior Colleges; members of the media and a Lion fish co-coordinator. Organizers were Armeid Thompson, Social Scientist and Outreach for the Healthy Reefs Initiative, Ms. Rosalie Constantine, Belize Coastal Zone Management.

    The day was filled with various activities including a Rainbow Parrotfish / Lionfish hunt; this activity saw members from Healthy Reef Initiative along with officials from Belize Coastal Zone and twelve students, primarily from the University of Belize, on a 52 minute snorkel through a one mile radius in front of Goff’s Caye, monitoring the waters in the attempt to allocate, capture and destroy Lionfish and monitor the appearance of Rainbow Parrotfish in the waters surrounding Goff’s Caye. After the 52-minute monitoring exercise, Ms. Thompson indicated that her and her team spotted no Lionfish, however she was happy to report that they did see over 94 different species of parrotfish ranging between 11 – 35 centimeters. This, she mentioned was a good indication that the Lionfish is not prevalent in the waters.

    Another activity that saw the participation of six teams was the sand sculpture contest. Competitors used their creativity in creating various sculptors depicting themes such as the effect of oil exploration to our marine ecosystem, the rainforest and various marine lives.

    Swimmers and non-swimmers were invited on snorkeling tours. Non-swimmers were paired up with swimmers, under the caring eyes of Emicell and William, Spanish Bay Resort tour guides. The guides were instrumental in providing snorkelers with an educational guided tour of the Belize Barrier Reef, pointing out the different marine life that reside within the corals, showing and explaining the difference between a live reef and a dead reef and pointing out some effects of Coral Bleaching. Other activities included a swimming race and coral bleaching watch.

    The purpose of the day’s activities was to raise awareness within participants about the world’s oceans and provide them with an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the reefs that line our shores and stress on conservation of our very important resources. The San Pedro Sun would like to offer thanks and appreciation to Island Divers Supplies, for providing us with snorkel equipment and the use of a very impressive Under Water Camera, which contributed immensely to making this experience a successful one.
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