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May 22, 2023

Saving Goff’s Caye by Planting Mangroves

On Saturday, a government agency and a private company teamed up to salvage the eroded parts of Goff’s Caye by planting mangrove on the back of the island. Bowen and Bowen dispatched fifty of its employees to the island to take on the project. The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute which manages Goff’s Caye, provided the technical support to the staff on how to effectively plant the mangroves and we were there to capture it. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.


Marion Ali, Reporting

On Saturday, fifty Bowen and Bowen employees boarded a vessel and headed to Goff’s Caye. Their purpose: to plant mangroves at the back of the island which has suffered significant erosion over the years. It’s the second mangrove planting project that Bowen and Bowen has spearheaded. The company’s Corporate Relations Manager, Rosanna Villanueva explained how the project came about.


Rosanna Villanueva

Rosanna Villanueva, Corporate Relations Manager, Bowen & Bowen Companies

“When Coastal Zone mentioned that they were having issues out at Goff’s Caye with erosion, and they wanted to plant some mangroves here to protect the island, we volunteered for this project. And we planted three hundred again today. This time it was a little different because at Wesley we were planting them in sand and we were in waist-deep water. Out here as you saw, we had to into the rocks. We just wanted to do something to help and to make sure that Goff’s Caye is here for future generations to enjoy.”


Kent Garbutt, who is an assistant lab technician at the CZMAI, walked the mangrove planters through the process.


Kent Garbutt

Kent Garbutt, Assistant Lab Technician, CZMAI

“We’re using the method called the Riley Encasement Method, I mus say of some sort because I have altered it to suit this area. So, the Riley Encasement Method is basically having something to enclose the mangroves in – a pipe, a bamboo, something of that nature. So basically it’s just cutting the pipe or the bamboo in the middle, facing it to the land because we want the water to go in but we don’t want a lot of water to go in. We don’t want it to wash out the sand and the propagules don’t have enough sand to catch on. The bamboos right now have four inches of sand in it and then we place the propagules in it.”


The mangrove shoots were planted at the rear of the island where it has suffered the most erosion over time because of the wave action that come ashore with the tides. Over the last fourteen years that he has been its caretaker, Jason Ferguson has seen the island shrink. He has a set of rules for whoever visits Goff’s Caye. Leaving garbage behind is a no-no and swimming is only allowed at the front of the island.


Jason Ferguson

Jason Ferguson, Caretaker, Goff’s Caye

“The caye set right pahn the barrier reef soh we try give everybody wa briefing who come out ya fi mek dehn understand and know how the island run and everything. The island shrink  wa lot over the years, worse over the last hurricane weh just pass through, wash weh wa lotta the island. Soh weh we have to do da save the island fi mek Goff Caye deh more longer.”


Kent Garbutt

“The roots of the mangroves play a significant part in holding the land together. People along the coastline like to plant the coconut trees; coconut trees actually help erode your land faster. So try to plant to plant the mangroves. They really help in holding your land together.”


With a little blessing from Mother Nature, and some luck that no hurricane strikes, the mangroves will be fully mature within five years. Rosanna Villanueva says that Bowen and Bowen sees the importance of engaging in projects such as these not because these activities enhance the company’s image, but because what happens to our country affects everyone.


Rosanna Villanueva

“We all live in these communities in which we do these projects, so it’s important for us to be involved.”


And it’s an initiative that Villanueva says they hope more corporate citizens and individuals take more leadership roles in.


Rosanna Villanueva

“It’s the same message we give our employees: just get involved. It might be a bigger project, like this; it might be something smaller in your community, but it’s important for us to get involved and do what we can. Everybody loves Goff’s Caye. It’s one of the few islands that is open to the public where any Belizean can come and enjoy the gorgeous sea and the scenery.”


Marion Ali for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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