Illegal use of coral angers NGOs

Posted: 11/05/2011 in all marine news

The Reporter – 

The illegal use of corals in a 600-foot coral seawall has come under strong criticism from non-government organizations who say the incident could have been averted months ago had the Department of the Environment (DOE) taken the necessary actions.

According to reports received, the DOE and the Fisheries Department had received information earlier this year regarding the alarming case of a development project on South Long Coco Caye (SLCC), where the developer was digging up live coral to build a seawall.

Reports are the seawall was only 60 feet long when the matter was first reported to the Fisheries Department and the DOE, but the lax approach had given the unyielding developer ample time to add roughly 540 feet to the same seawall for which he was to be charged.

The Fisheries Department had initiated the legal proceedings, but because they lacked the jurisdiction to prosecute; the case was handed over to the DOE. The case has gone dormant since then.

Representatives from the Southern Environmental Association (SEA), based in Placencia, informed The Reporter that they first learnt of the incident in October 2010, and compiled an assessment report.

SEA’s report stated, “On the 12th of October, 2010, at approximately 8:00 am, reports were received of an incident involving five individuals, found in the vicinity of South Long Coco Caye, removing coral reef from a shallow sea bed, with intentions of constructing a sea wall from said coral pieces.”

The individuals had illegally removed approximately 150 feet of coral reef from a shallow reef system of approximately 350 feet, about half of the area’s reef system. The developer also dredged the area to build a walkway system to link his two cayes.

The “road”, which goes through the same reef system, is enclosed by coral and is made up of the dredged sand. The mangroves, that were in the area, had been cleared and replaced by the seawall.

Full story…

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