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Nov 15, 2019

Mangrove Education Onboard the Mangrove Maiden

Mangroves serve many important functions for coastal communities. They act as a watershed and provide storm surge protection, as well as land stabilization. They also provide habitat for fish, birds and reptiles, and also act as water filters. There is one company that wants to highlight the importance of this valuable ecosystem through educational tours. Today, the Caribbean Shrimp Farm officially launched the tour with a ribbon cutting ceremony of its green vessel called the Mangrove Maiden.  According to the company, the natural mangroves forests around the shrimp farm has helped to make them one of the oldest shrimp farms in the country, where they produce one hundred thousand pounds of organic shrimp per year. So, they want to help raise awareness and provide a leisure cruise on the lagoon for visitors. Reporter Andrea Polanco tells us more.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The Caribbean Shrimp Farm located in Ladyville has launched an eco-friendly, zero emissions tour of the lagoon and coastal areas of the farm. The tour will give visitors a close look at mature mangroves, where they can learn about the value of this dynamic ecosystem to Belize.  General Manager Heather McIntosh says that this new addition to their business is in line with the shrimp company’s environmentally-friendly operations.

 

Heather McIntosh

Heather McIntosh, General Manager/Owner, Caribbean Shrimp Company

“We have this opportunity to launch the first ever solar powered Mangrove Maiden Lagoon Tour for here in Belize. It is a very unique thing to offer on our Caribbean Company organic shrimp farm. What we are trying to do here is to expose Belizeans, as well as our guests and visitors, to all the wonderful things that Belize has to offer. We are eco-friendly; environmentally sustainable. We are looking at things like organic; natural.   The mangrove is what makes our farm successful. The mangrove is what filters our water. The mangrove is what holds our ponds together so that we don’t have erosion. It is extremely important.”

 

The vessel, called the Mangrove Maiden, uses solar powered batteries. Its electric motor also makes it a quiet means of transport on the waters. These two features, according to McIntosh, help to prevent disturbance of our coastal zone.

 

Heather McIntosh

“This boat tour is kind of one of the beginning components of that, because it lets us use the sun to power. So, there is no emissions; no chemicals; no fuels; none of that. We just let the sun charge our batteries. We run electric motors so it is very quiet and very natural – leisurely tour of the mangrove.”

 

To take the tour, you will need to visit the shrimp farm’s property.  From there you will board the Mangrove Maiden, where you will journey through a natural channel and a lake, where you can see red, white and black mangroves. McIntosh says that the tour is for everyone but birders and photographers may want to take a visit, because the coastal zone attracts a variety of wildlife.

 

Heather McIntosh

“It is about an hour long and it takes you all the way through this internal mangrove lagoon out to the sea and back. While you are on the tour, you will see a lot of birds. We actually have quite a few rare and unique birds here. We are one of the top birding destinations in the whole country. You will see crocodiles and you’ll see fish; all kinds of natural things, butterflies, bats, and just mangroves in a way you have never seen it before. It’s a very mature mangrove forest that you would rarely get the opportunity to get right up close to.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

The tours are available on weekend and will be extended to daily trips next year. You can take advantage of a reduced price of twenty-dollars per tour, but that fee will double during the high tourist season. For more information, you can contact the Caribbean Shrimp Farm.


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