Honduras, Roatan, West End: Cruisers Evicted - Updated
The latest news from cruisers in West End, Roatan, is that the Mayor of West End has “thrown out” all the boats using the Marine Preserve moorings and those at anchor. Anchoring in West End/West Bay is now banned as is use of the Marine Preserve moorings which are to be removed, and all boats doing so must leave by the end of this month.
The Mayor has said that he wishes to make this ban effective in French Harbour and eventually island wide. Every boat must be tucked into a marina.
Important Update: The ban only currently applies to West End. The Mayor's jurisdiction extends only to the Western part of the island. From Parrot Tree East, he has no jurisdiction, and that part of the Island's government has publicly stated their support and welcome to cruisers. Please see svislomania.blog.com for more information.
So what has spurred the Mayor to take such action? According to the minutes of the town council meeting the rational is:
1. The cruisers are poaching the reef;
2. There are fewer turtles because of the cruisers;
3. The cruisers spend zero dollars on the island.
It’s possible however that the much-speculated marina development is the real reason.
The decision is causing much consternation amongst the cruising community, but also amongst the local businesses who will be adversely affected by the loss of revenue that these transient guests provide. The Marine Preserve will also suffer as it relies on the mooring fees/funding from visiting cruisers. A group of local businesses are trying to get the decision reversed and also stop it becoming island wide, including the more popular French Caye Harbour.
All boats must now berth in a marina, however in high season dock space is limited in Roatan, so it is likely many cruisers will now visit Utila, Belize or Guatemala instead.
West End/West Bay was very popular with cruisers because of its natural beauty and first class diving. It is hoped by many these restrictions will be reversed in a few months once the adverse economic impact is felt.