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Jul 23, 1998

New marine reserve for Caye Caulker

A new name and location has been added to the nation’s impressive collection of protected areas. On Saturday ceremonies were held for the official declaration of the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. The property in question, although comprising only a hundred acres, includes the forested area of the island’s northern tip, a portion of sea grass beds and virtually the entire reef which runs the length of the caye. The establishment of the reserve had long been urged by island residents and its creation involved efforts by the Ministries of Tourism and Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries. Financial assistance for getting the project off the ground will be provided by PACT, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust, while a management committee is now in the process of establishing a plan to demarcate specific zones in the reserve for different uses. Tourism operators on the popular island believe that the new reserve should complement Hol Chan, which lies several miles to the north, off the southern end of Ambergris Caye. Hol Chan has become a haven for a profusion of marine life and has proven so popular with visitors that there are sometimes more people in the water than fish.

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