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Mar 11, 2015

Reef Week Celebrated

We caught up with OCEANA’s VP Chanona at a science symposium this afternoon at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. The symposium is one of the many events being organized by the organization to celebrate Reef Week. This year, the event is being held under the theme, “Celebrate our Heritage, Protect our Future, Belief in the Reef” and is a part of the continuous efforts to bring awareness to the importance of the reef, its conservation and protection by public and private sector stakeholders. Today’s event targeted the youth, particularly students from primary to tertiary level institutions, and featured presentations from several N.G.O.s and government departments on where Belize is in terms of the protection of the ocean as well as the issues affecting the environment.

 

Janelle Chanona

Janelle Chanona, VP, OCEANA Belize

“As a science based organization, all our recommendations in terms of policy and management are based on science. So we sat down and said what are we going to do for reef week and in response to some of the conversations that we’ve been having, is making that connection between what’s happening at sea scientifically and what the community is taking away from it. We don’t want community members to be thinking, oh the environmentalists want I stop eat fish, dehn noh want make I do fishing…no, no, no, no, no. So this is an event designed to inform people just that; the simple basics. If you do this, this happens; if you do that, this happens so that they can make informed decisions as to what actions they do create. So we have people here talking about sharks, talking about coral, talking about goods and services of ecosystems, talking about just management in general and status of where we are n terms of our marine resources. So we are very excited. We invited primary school students, secondary school students and university students and we have an awesome lineup of presenters and I think it is really going to highlight the interdependency and connectivity in that kinda like, touch one touch all. Whatever happens to our environment generally comes right back and affects us.  We have the cooperation of the fisheries department both in terms of the science symposium and the reef fair scheduled for Sunday and OCEANA’s Open Day scheduled for Friday in Belmopan. And Duane just generally, yes, everybody…N.G.O. and governmental organizations appreciate the fact if we don’t take care of what’s taking care of us, we are the ones that are going to suffer and suffer very seriously. So yes, everybody’s on the same page; it’s just sometimes we need to take a different talk and have open and frank discussions about how we get there.”

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