Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR), Belize, Central America, was established in 1987 as a community-based initiative to address conflicts between tourism and fishing use. The entire Reserve covers approximately 161 square miles (417 sq. km) and is divided into eight zones: reef, seagrass beds, mangrove, no-take zones, and recreational zones. Hol Chan is a fisheries management tool to allow for sustainable use of resources while conserving critical biodiversity.
The livelihood of the residents of the San Pedro and Caye Caulker communities depends primarily on tourism and fisheries. These communities are home to over 300 fishers, 625 tour guides, 91 tour operators, and their families, not to mention all persons employed in the hospitality industry. The success of the tourism and fisheries sectors of these communities is directly tied to the health of the surrounding marine ecosystems, which Hol Chan is entrusted with safeguarding.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought tourism activities to a halt. Like the community, Hol Chan has also relied on tourism to finance its management. Despite having Zero Revenues since March 2020, Hol Chan has continued carrying out its daily operations in the Reserve. Our 21 Rangers have continued to patrol the waters to ensure that when tourism resumes, the abundance of biodiversity that Hol Chan is known for remains for future visitors to enjoy. With many unemployed persons turning to marine products to feed their families, the threat of poaching has increased significantly. Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, there has been an increase of more than 200% in poaching, when compared to the previous six months. With no revenues, it is has become more challenging to maintain patrols in the Reserve.
Also impacted by COVID-19 and the loss of revenues are other activities such as our biodiversity monitoring program including the sea turtle nesting beaches in Ambergris Caye.
Your contributions will allow Hol Chan to continue our daily operational efforts in safeguarding the marine ecosystems for the livelihood of the community and continued conservation of the reef.
Research and Monitoring
. Sea turtle nest monitoring
. Commercial species management
. Water Quality and Sedimentation Monitoring
. Research and Surveys
· 24-hour surveillance of the Reserve
· 24-hour protection of the biodiversity
· Utilization and Visitation Management
Education, Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement
Hol Chan Marine Reserve
- William Woolston
- Matthew Gilbert
- LAURENCE P HALLAS
- Oksana Borodina
- John Fredrickson