In a press release earlier this week, The Department of the Environment (DOE), Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, expressed that it is becoming increasingly concerned over the practice of using corals for the filling of cayes or land or as construction material for infrastructure.
The DOE hereby brings to the attention of the general public, particularly developers and owners of islands/cayes, that the use of live or dead corals for such activity is prohibited under the Environmental Protection Act. The DOE would like to remind the general public that the coral reef is an invaluable resource to the country of Belize. It serves as a source of food, livelihood and tourism attraction as well as providing protection for our coastline.
“The Department of the Environment (DOE) confirmed that there were/are developers on islands that uses either live or dead corals for construction of seawalls, small thatch buildings, etc.” commented Mr. Anthony Mai, of the Department of the Environment to Ambergris Today.
“Upon investigation and validation of the reports, the DOE initiated procedures to penalize the responsible party. The promulgation of the recent warning was requested by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee. The committee requested that certain public advertisements be sent out periodically to warn potential violators. In this case it was the illegal use of coral for construction purposes.”
Illegal use of corals is destructive and threatens the stability of the entire coral reef system. By removing live corals from the reef, it creates great impacts to the larger reef system as they are susceptible to even the smallest changes in their environment.
Therefore, any person who is engaging in the practice of using corals for the filling of cayes or land or as construction material is advised to stop immediately. All reports of such activity will be investigated jointly with key agencies, such as the Fisheries Department, and offenders will be prosecuted under the Environmental Protection Act.