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Concerns for Corozal Bay

Press Release Date: September 30, 2019



Oceana supports the North in efforts to ensure the health of the New River and Corozal Bay

Alongside the Friends of New River group, Oceana in Belize continues to closely monitor the condition of the New River. We commend the citizen led action that has garnered national attention of this long-standing issue. Oceana is committed to supporting the right of residents to embrace their role in ensuring that the health of the river continues to be a national priority given the importance of clean, safe water to residents of Orange Walk and Corozal districts, especially those who depend daily on the New River and Corozal Bay. 
“As the polluted waters begin to move towards Corozal Bay and the Caribbean Sea, we ask all residents to immediately report any incident such as fish or mammal mortalities to all relevant authorities,” asks Ryan Rivera, Oceana’s Corozal Field Representative. “Corozalenos are all too aware of the number of stressors already impacting Corozal Bay. As a community, we need to prepare for potential impacts so that appropriate mitigation measures can be planned and deployed if necessary.” 
Oceana is committed to providing all assistance possible to help to ensure the health and integrity of Belize’s marine resources. Several rivers flow directly into the Caribbean Sea, highlighting the impact that inland activities pose to marine resources. In the context of multiple non-governmental groups working on these issues, we call on the Department of the Environment to publicly disclose a list of the technical and professional resources required to adequately execute their responsibilities. Oceana endorses the call for increased budgetary allowance to the Department of the Environment given the importance of their role in safeguarding the health of the country’s natural resources. 
“It is clear that water quality testing is required in multiple locations,” says Oceana’s Vice President, Janelle Chanona. “We should see the situation of the New River as a flashing neon sign, a preview of coming attractions to other parts of the country. Mother Nature is not happy. And if we aren’t proactive in taking the necessary steps to address those situations, we will move from environmental crisis to environmental crisis. And the economic price tag will always be costly given the dependence of tens of thousands of Belizeans on our natural resources.”    

Contact: Janelle Chanona – jchanona@oceana.org 

Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 600,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has officies in Asian, North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.