The Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) has been monitoring the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) since last year, which has now been spotted in several locations within the reserve on Ambergris Caye, Belize. This week the management team of the marine reserve made the announcement to the general public that the Hol Chan Marine Reserve re-opened on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. However, the Hol Chan Channel will remain closed until June 16, 2020 due to treatment being administered to the coral at the Channel.
HCMR explained that on May 15, all corals observed with the disease, specifically at the Hol Chan Channel, were treated with antibiotics administered through a CoreRx base. A month will be required before it can be certain that the treatment has worked or if additional treatment is needed. The timeframe of one month is based on recommendations from scientists working with SCTLK in Florida using the same treatment.
Recent studies published have indicated that transmission of SCTLD associated bacteria may be associated with slow-moving bottom currents and the accompanying sediment particle. Therefore, keeping the Hol Chan Channel closed to visitation will reduce the volumes of sedimentation and the added pressure to the corals. This will also allow the Hol Chan Technical Team to continue working in the area in order to get control of the disease.
The HCHR is asking stakeholders and the general public to continue to cooperate with the reserve management team as they work on controlling the SCTLD disease and working for the preservation of the reserve. Furthermore, all visitors to Shark Ray Alley and Mexico Rocks must follow all regulations for each area. Visitors must also be wearing a mask until entering the water and practicing social distancing.
Access Fees to HCMR:
Non-Belizean Tourist - $20Bze
Belizean Tourist - $5Bze; Free on Sundays
Children under 12 - Free
Fees apply to all recreational activities within all zones of the Reserve.