As pictures surfaced a few days ago showing rocks piled on live coral colonies off the coast of Harvest Caye in the Placencia Peninsula area, the Department of Environment (DOE), Oceana Belize and other entities are closely monitoring and investigating the situation.
While it is alleged that the rocks are from works being done on Harvest Caye’s new cruise ship terminal/island resort, the DOE stated that since the matter is still an open case, details about the case have been withheld due to legal implications. The DOE did say that during a routine site inspection in the Placencia area on February 18, 2015, their personnel observed the construction of a groin near a patch reef in the vicinity of Harvest Caye. The DOE personnel issued a verbal stop order on site at the time and returned thereafter to conduct a coral damage assessment of the patch reef in question along with the Fisheries Department.
Investigations have since revealed that there have been impacts to the patch reef as a direct result of the commencement of the construction of the groin. The damage assessment has also determined the extent of impact to the reef, for which the DOE and the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries & Sustainable Development have been working with the responsible party for a closure on this matter.
The Department stated that it appreciates the public’s understanding on the matter and that more information will be provided as soon as the DOE is able to. (Images courtesy of Oceana Belize)