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Sep 12, 2014

PACT Cancels Grant for Hol Chan Marine Reserve Expansion

In a most unusual move that is certainly to raise the ire of environmentalists, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) has reportedly cancelled a grant of close to two hundred thousand dollars. The funds were awarded for the expansion of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve back on October seventh 2013 to be used for the management of the proposed expansion of the current marine reserve.  According to a report in the San Pedro Sun, the proposed ‘Ambergris Caye Wetlands Project’ expansion document was before cabinet for consideration for three years but was never penned into law. But there is now word that government has approved the survey of the area to distribute as housing lots within the reserve. The San Pedro Mayor has confirmed the proposed lot distribution.  The planned expansion would have included Mexico Rocks, the wetland/swampland areas near Mata and Cayo Frances Lagoons and the shoal on the leeward side of Ambergris Caye. In total, the expansion covers an area of 370 square kilometers.  The management zone of Hol Chan would expand to over for hundred square kilometers.  The money was slated for the purchase of patrol vessels and salary for the additional personnel for the first year but all that has been lost. The cancellation letter from PACT reads “The Board has decided to withdraw the grant awarded for the execution of this project. Consequently, please be advised that the grant agreement entered into on the seventh of October 2013, is considered null and void.”  It was signed by Natalie Rosado, the Acting Director of PACT. 

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