Under the theme, “Make a Difference; Protect our Environment”, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Belize Fisheries Department, the San Pedro Town Council along with the San Pedro Tour Guide association have organized the 11th annual Northern Belize REEF WEEK. Mark your calendars – May 16th through the 22nd.
The purpose of the yearly activity is to raise awareness on the importance of the Belize Barrier Reef Eco System. The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300 kilometers long section of the 900 kilometers long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. It is the second largest coral reef system in the world, topped only by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia!
The Belize Barrier Reef system is home to a huge diversity of plants and animals and is hailed by many as one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Our Barrier Reef system is home to over 70 hard coral species, some 36 soft coral species, over 500 species of fishes and hundreds of invertebrate species. With this said; there is still an alarming 90% of the Belize Barrier Reef System that is still left to be researched.
The financial value of our Barrier Reef System is unmatched by any other industry within the nation of Belize. Directly linked to the Tourism and Fishing industry, the Barrier Reef provides millions of dollars in income, as well as employment for thousands of Belizeans.
So, in conclusion, there is much to be benefited from our Barrier Reef System and there is certainly a need for awareness. As such, the various committees here on Ambergris Caye, have been working together to realize this activity on a yearly basis – this year marking its 11th year. To celebrate the occasion, the committee has come up with 6 days of fun-filled activities, all highlighting the importance of our surrounding ecosystem, including the Belize Barrier Reef, the Sea Grass, and the Mangrove systems.
Monday, May 16th – Swim to the Reef – 6:00AM –All participants will meet up at Amigos del Mar dock for swim off time at 6AM. This is NOT a competition, so even if you’re not registered, you can still just show up and do the swim. Snorkeling gear is welcomed for this event.
Following this, participants are invited to take their spear guns and hit the waters, in search of the very treacherous Lionfish. The lionfish were introduced into the Caribbean Waters some years ago, and since then, have been wreaking havoc on the baby fishes that occupy our waters – and causing irreparable damages to the marine ecosystem. At 4PM, fishermen are invited to gather at Estells for the weigh-in of the Lion Fish. Lionfish from the tournament will be provided to SAGA Humane Society for their monthly cook-off – which will also be held as part of REEF WEEK 2016.
On Tuesday May 17th – is the annual Ambergris Caye Coastal Clean Up. This activity starts at 8:30am. All residents and businesses, especially those located on the beach side are invited to participate in this activity. All garbage along the beach side and water ways are going to be collected and taken to the municipal dock, from which location, the Town Council will be picking it up and ferrying it to the Official garbage dump site. Grand Caribe Belize staff will be in full force – assuring that our beaches are spotless.
Wednesday May 18th – Trivia Competition – 9:30AM at the Paradise Theatre
Friday May 20th – SAGA Lionfish Cook Off – The Venue for this event is yet to be announced. What is certain though; is that there will be a wide variety of delectably prepared Lion fish for you to sample.
Sunday May 22nd – Boca del Rio park will be the place to be. The first activity of this day is the Kayak Race around the south portion of the island. The race starts at 8:00AM at the Boca del Rio Park. The route will take kayakers through the waterways to the back of the island, south bound, to the southern-most tip, and then east bound to the front of the island, where they make their way north back to the Boca del Rio Park.
At 10AM, both juniors as well as seasoned athletes are invited to compete in the annual Iron Man Triathlon. This activity includes a Swim, Bike, Run, commencing and ending at the Boca Del Rio.
For more information about Belize Reef Week 2016, feel free to stop by our concierge office or call 226-2247 and contact Ms Mariela Archer at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve office.