The Roatan Marine Park

It is always a pleasure to work with local NGO projects and to assist in creating videos which give the NGOs extra exposure while showcasing all the hard work they do in Roatan. We recently completed a new organization video for the Roatan Marine Park, learn more below:

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Welcome to the Bay Islands National Marine Park.

You are now entered the largest marine protected area in Honduras. Located 30 miles from the North Coast it comprises approximately 650,000 hectares of rich coastal marine wilderness.

It is part of the Bay Islands department an archipelago made up of eight islands, the three main islands of Roatan, Utila and Guanaja, five smaller islands as well as 65 small islets.

It lies on the second largest barrier reef system in the world, the Mesoamerican reef region which is renowned for its scenic and aquatic beauty, and such has developed into a prime tourist destination making it susceptible to intense pressures derived from human activities.

To ensure the proper use and protection of the Bay Islands National Marine Park a management plan was put in place and specialized zones were created, each with its own unique qualities of ecological, scenic, anthropological, and economic value.
These zones are the coastal zone, the special marine zone, and the buffer zone.

The coastal zone is the border area that extends 10 meters inland from the high tide line this is where most tourist activities concentrate.
The special marine zone covers the area from the high tide line out to 60 meters in depth, it is subdivided into regions where critical activities paramount to the well-being of the protected area take place. Its aim is to preserve unique elements of the fragile marine ecosystems that have special biological functions.

The buffer zone is the area that extends from 60 meters depth out to 12 nautical miles at sea, it is the perimeter area which aims to minimize the impact on the special marine zone in which multiple activities can be carried out except for industrial fishing. A group of co-managing organizations have been entrusted to support the compliance of the parks managements plan rules and zonal regulations.

The ecosystems of the ecological significance that are found within the Bay Islands National Marine Park are mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs.

Among the many services they provide mangroves are unique they protect the coastline from erosion and storms, and their ability to capture and store carbon makes them strong assets against climate change.

Seagrass beds release oxygen and filter the water, they are a source of food for many species and just like mangroves they act as nurseries for all sorts of sea life.

Coral reefs are known to be some of the most productive ecosystems in the world, as they provide a home to more than 25 percent of all marine life, their worth as a tourism attraction is crucial as they drive local economies and support the livelihoods of millions. It is estimated that over 1 billion people depend on them for food, these ecosystems are well interconnected and highly dependent on each other with species transitioning as juveniles from mangroves to seagrass beds and onto coral reefs at a later stage in their natural life cycle. Each play a delicate role in the overall health of the region’s natural environment.

The Bay Islands National Marine Park is not the only protected area with rich biodiversity together with four additional protected areas the Forest Reserve in Guanaja, the Wildlife Refuge of Turtle Harbour in Utila, the Port Royal National Park in Santos Guardiola and Cordelia Banks on Roatan. They host a variety of species and ecosystems that have special interest to the region. When managed in a collaborative and sustainable way they can benefit the local communities and its visitors.

To protect the needs of emblematic species and preserve valuable habitats inside the Bay Islands National Marine Park. The parks management plan has identified seven conservation sites that best represent the region’s biodiversity, these conservation sites are: whale shark sighting areas, nesting sites for american crocodiles, nesting sites for green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles, fish spawning aggregation site for groupers and snappers, marine bird nesting sites for species such as seagulls, herons, and pelicans, finally queen conch and spiny lobster nursery sites.

The Bay Islands natural beauty has fostered a growing tourism industry which has seen an increase in the influx of visitors to the Bay Islands National Marine Park and with it added pressures on the marine ecosystems and its biodiversity.

For more effective management of the protected areas the parks managers have identified several key threats analyzed them and designed strategies to help mitigate their impacts, among those threats we have the deforestation of mangrove forests, dredging or removal of seagrass beds, unsustainable coastal development, plastic waste and sewage pollution, unsustainable tourism, and fishing practices. By observing all recommended environmental best practices when visiting you can lessen your footprint and help reduce these impacts.

When visiting the Bay Islands National Marine Park please observe the following environmental best practices, use reef-safe sunscreen and bug repellents as the regular options contain chemicals that are harmful to the reef, refuse single use plastic and do not litter, please be careful do not touch or step on corals, please do not disturb marine life including turtles and sea stars, do not buy souvenirs made from marine life, follow the responsible seafood guide, in doing so you are lending a helping hand to those that work towards the conservation of our marine protected area.

We are the Roatan Marine Park, a community based non-for-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Honduras coastal ecosystems and proud co-manager of the Bay Islands National Marine Park, our aim is the inspire educate and empower communities and visitors to conserve and protect the marine environment for the benefit of all.

Get involved with the RMP, join our lionfish program and help responsibly contain this invasive species, get your coral restoration certification and build back our reefs, become a citizen scientist and report your sightings of sharks, eagle rays and other megafauna such as marine mammals, be a part of the action and volunteer to join our program, contact us at volunteer@roatanmarinepark.org

Give back to the environment and buy your eco-friendly gifts at our eco-store in West End or kiosks at the ports, purchase the RMP bracelet at participating dive shops and RMP eco-store, every purchase directly supports our efforts, donate and make a tax-deductible donation as we are a U.S 501C3 charity, your support makes all the difference.

Please help us conserve the marine protected area of the Bay Islands National Marine Park.

To learn more visit: www.roatanmarinepark.org

To learn more about The Roatan Marine Park watch the video by clicking here

What People Say About RTN!

*I love it because I am here on vacation, and I wanted to know what I could do so I turned on the TV, and boom there was my answer. It’s very educational for the guest much better than the magazine that usually is there. — Island Visitor

*It’s been wonderful we’ve had a lot of people come into the clinic because they saw the commercial on RTN. — GARM Clinic

*We felt the difference immediately we’ve had people coming from hotels they open the door looked at me and said they were coming to say hello, come on over and say hello. — Roatan Chocolate Factory