Researcher Manuel Rodriguez urges control in coastal fishing. Starting with the results of research conducted on the North coast, marine biologist Manuel Alejandro Rodriguez has developed a program that includes the creation of governmental and voluntary teams to be responsible for mitigating short-and long-term damage to the Marine Sanctuary in Sosua , restore the environmental health and prepare for visitors.
“Joining forces with Tourism, local environmental office and the City hall can work to make the Sanctuary a great place for contemplative diving, a real deal for the community that has proven very profitable in other countries and would have much success in Sosua ,” believes Rodriguez. The project have teamed Elda Cantizano from the Superior Dive Center, Sosua `s City hall, the Municipal Heritage Community Unit (UMPC), the Ministry of Environment, volunteers and soon the Peace Corps will join. Sosua is a famous area for diving and snorkeling in the North coast of the Dominican Republic, and many resort and villa rental clients take tours in the diving boats and catamarans just to enjoy the beautiful flora and fauna that lives in the reefs and diving sites around Sosua Bay and nearby areas.
“This project aims to formally establish the first marine sanctuary in the northern coast, where fishing is strictly forbidden and also any kind of extraction or exploitation detrimental to marine ecosystems and forested area,” says Rodriguez. Problems in the Sanctuary : intensive overfishing, imbalance in the ocean food chain, deforestation, soil erosion, sediment and continuous supply of land to sea, bacteria and fungi of land, increased marine algae and pathogenic organisms present in water sea, sewage extraction of marine organisms, the human contact with marine life, polluted river water inputs and rich in ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and phosphates, ocean acidification, waste, destruction of mangroves and seagrass beds.
Volunteers who wish to cooperate, said Rodriguez may do so by attending reforestation projects (divers participating in underwater cleanups and coral nurseries), donating materials or funds. Since so many foreigners now live and own property in Sosua , it`s urgent to create awareness to protect the coastal marine sanctuary in order to preserve and further develop the ecologically friendly tourism that Sosua desperately needs. The participation of real estate companies, of which many have greatly benefited in Sosua , could be vital for educating new settlers into preserving nature`s valuable resources in the area.
URGE REGULATIONS FOR FISHING IN THE SANCTUARY
Rodriguez says that nothing is worth the work of reforestation and recovery of marine ecosystems that are currently performed if no fishing is prohibited in the Sanctuary . “It’s an outrage that is solved by placing a guard to watch. The whole coast is destroyed and species are critically endangered, but unless we declare the area a protected area we can never recover , “he says. In the short term, he proposes to educate the people in the conservation issues involving people in ecotourism. Excerpted from Yaniris López in Sosua , Puerto Plata.