Updated: Oct 17
Over the past few months, Roatan Marine Park's surveillance activities have uncovered seven instances of mangrove destruction and unpermitted dock expansion. These activities represent a significant threat to reef ecosystems, given that the destruction of mangrove forests reduces runoff retention from terrestrial origin. This increases the sedimentation on the coral reefs around the island, which has a direct negative impact on said ecosystems. When the mangrove cover disappears, essential ecosystem retention and purification services and functions are lost that allow and favor optimal conditions for the reef. After discovering the illegal activity, RMP notified Honduran environmental organizations, including the National Institute of Forest Conservation, Protected Areas and Wildlife (ICF), Secretary of Natural Resources (SERNA), and the Environmental Departments of the Municipalities of Roatan and Santos Guardiola, who then inspected the sites.
Upon confirming the illegal activities, reports on environmental impacts are generated, and fines, requirements, withdrawals of operating permits, and suspension of environmental licenses are applied, depending on the type, degree, or level of damage to conservation objects.
Since 2008, patrolling and surveillance activities have been carried out around Roatan and surrounding islands. The most significant achievement has been the active registration of infractions by human activities to conservation objects in the two protected areas on the island: Bay Islands National Marine Park and Port Royal National Park. Through strategic alliances with local authorities in the administration of maritime spaces and insular coastal marine resources present, approaches in more than 2000 events of confiscating equipment for the realization of illegal fishing gear and species of critical importance for conservation due to their commercial and consumption value have been conducted.
"The mangrove and coral coverage are closely linked ecosystems and vital for maintaining the island's general reef cover and the Mesoamerican reef system (MAR). Through the efforts of the Patrols Program, we ensure and increase their protection. Since we know the need to maintain their biological values, their services and benefits extend to the general society. Both ecosystems are a fundamental support of food security, are active managers of the impacts of global change, are reducing components of natural disaster risks, and provide recreational, cultural and spiritual well-being to the inhabitants of local communities and visitors."- Kevin Moncada, RMP Patrols Coordinador
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Patrolling for Reef Health