The Bay Islands Marine Park protects a significant portion of the Mesoamerican Reef and includes within it the Roatan Marine Park. The Roatan Marine Park, a non-profit organization, aims to protect the reef and the marine life that lives on it. This way, everyone can have the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the healthy marine life of Roatan.
Over the years, natural phenomenon, pollution, tourism, and overfishing have damaged the Mesoamerican Reef that runs through Roatan. In 2005, concerned citizens raised awareness, which led to the funding of the Roatan Marine Park in order to increase protection efforts. Today, the mission of the Roatan Marine Park is to “inspire, educate, and empower communities and visitors to conserve and protect marine environments for the benefit of all.”
While it is incredible that Roatan’s reefs draw in thousands of divers from around the world each year, these tourist activities can cause a lot of damage to marine life. The Roatan Marine Park is trusted to ensure that people are educated and informed of the potential damage they can do. Check out a few of the ways that the Roatan Marine Park is conserving Roatan’s protected marine and coastal areas and making Roatan diving safer and more pleasant.
Constant anchoring and frequent collision of vessels cause serious damage to the reef. The Roatan Marine Park’s Marine Infrastructure Program has established moorings that distinguish entry and exit points as well as prevent vessels from anchoring directly on the reef. By establishing infrastructure, the reef isn’t taking on as much of a burden as it was previously with direct anchoring on the reef and vessel collisions.
Many times, it is necessary for rules and policies to actively be enforced. Simply hoping that people will do the right thing is not enough. Or, maybe they are just not well-informed of the rules. The Patrol Program has four patrol boats, each consisting of a Roatan Marine Park ranger and two members of the Honduran Navy. The boats patrol six days a week and keep an eye out for any criminal or damaging activity that takes place on Roatan’s waters.
Making a change within a community first begins with making a change with the minds of people. Roatan Marine Park is attempting to do just this. The park visits schools in order to educate people and actively involve kids in activities that teach them how to protect the world’s natural resources.
Containing Invasive Species
The Roatan Marine Park is also committed to containing invasive species that adversely affect marine habitats and harm native species. One of the most well-known invasive species in the Roatan area as well as other areas is the lionfish. The RMP has begun hosting lionfish workshops that teach Roatan divers about this species and to issue spearing licenses. Click below to learn more about the lionfish and what you can do to help contain it.
These are just a few examples of the Roatan Marine Park efforts to protect Roatan’s Marine environment. To learn more about the Roatan Marine Park’s projects and its incredible staff, or to donate, click below…
Help Reef House Protect The Reef
Here at Reef House Lodge, we are committed to contributing to the mission of the Roatan Marine Park. All divers receive a Roatan Marine Park wristband, and all proceeds go towards supporting the positive work being done by the RMP. And, of course, Reef House Lodge is a glove-free Roatan Dive Resort in an effort to protect our precious coral. We encourage all visitors to ask questions about how they can help protect our water so that we can spread important knowledge and information. Increasing awareness of the work that the RMP is doing is crucial to the continued success of the organization.
If you’re feeling generous and want to support a great cause, a $1000 donation to the Roatan Marine Park will give you the opportunity to name your own dive site. The park is even flexible with allowing you to choose where you want your named dive site to be located. Your name will be engraved on a buoy and it will be placed at your site along with the necessary infrastructure.