The Coastal Zone Management Authority is responsible for implementing and monitoring policies that govern the use and development of the coastal zone areas in Belize. They do so by taking a multi-sectoral approach that links the effects of land-based activities on the marine environment. Today the representatives of the organization were in Corozal for a consultation geared on three objectives. One: presenting a draft on management of the coastal zone and getting final inputs on it, two: to give an overview of the mandate the coastal zone authority has and three: to hear about the issues affecting the northern region coastal zone. Director for the Coastal Zone Management Authority, Arlene Mejia Young, elaborated more on the consultation session.
Arlene Mejia Young - Director, Coastal zone Management
“We had a consultation session and we had three objectives for the session and the main objective was really to get final inputs on the drought integrated coastal zone management plan as well to be able to give an overview of the roles and management of the coastal zone management authority and institute and as well to hear directly from the community, concerns citizens about some of the coastal issues that are affecting this northern region, as I mentioned the priority focused for us today was to share information about the drought integrated coastal zone management plan which has an accompanying guidelines set out for the different regions for Belize, Corozal is included in the northern region so there are important recommendations and guidelines in there for the Corozal area, the Integrated Coastal Management Zone Plan is a national plan and it is for the entire country of Belzie the Coastal area specifically, the Integrated Coastal Zone Plan from the name ensures that all the activities that occur in the coast whether it is fishing, tourism, marine transportation that all those activities are included in a framework so we are better able to address possible conflicts that may arise from the different users and the different sectors and then come up with a plan and recommendation on how we could improve use, access and sustainability of the resources.”
Other major functions of the Coastal Zone Management Authority is to assist in the development of coastal programmes and projects and planning policies and developing guidelines. Along these lines is the protection of over fishing and destruction of Mangrove along the coast.
Arlene Mejia Young - Director, Coastal Zone Management
“Specifically a mangrove as an eco-system is highlighted in the plan and there are several recommended actions that the regular agents, that community that, various agencies could implement to ensure that the mangrove eco-system is maintained so yes it was addressed and the major concerns in terms of mangroves destruction and clearance. The fishing is addressed as a holistic area, in the plan fishing is mainly focused on lobster fishing so it is specific to that area in terms of looking at the coverage of the area, the use of economic potential of that area and the need for us to maintain those habitats that support our lobster fishing so it includes general recommendations for the fishing sector as well so that is one of the reasons we are here today to hear from the communities to see if there additional areas of concerns that we could include in the plan before it is finalized to ensure that the multitude of concerns being addressed properly from the community level.”
The coast has a biodiversity of marine life and we need to bear in mind that it is up to us the citizens to maintain and care for what we have today. For any concerns regarding coastal issues the CZMAI can be contacted online at coastalzone.org.
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