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The Info List - Belize Barrier Reef


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The Belize
Belize
Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize, roughly 300 meters (980 ft) offshore in the north and 40 kilometers (25 mi) in the south within the country limits. The Belize
Belize
Barrier Reef is a 300-kilometer (190 mi) long section of the 900-kilometer (560 mi) Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is continuous from Cancún
Cancún
on the north-eastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula
Yucatán Peninsula
through the Riviera Maya
Riviera Maya
and up to Honduras, making it the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef
in Australia. It is Belize's top tourist destination, popular for scuba diving and snorkeling and attracting almost half of its 260,000 visitors. It is also vital to the country's fishing industry.[1] Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
described it as "the most remarkable reef in the West Indies" in 1842. In addition to its barrier reef, it also boasts three distinct Caribbean atolls: Turneffe Atoll, Glover's Reef
Glover's Reef
and Lighthouse Reef. Lighthouse Reef
Lighthouse Reef
is the most easterly diving area in Belize, it is home to the Great Blue Hole, made famous by Jacques Cousteau
Jacques Cousteau
in 1970; Turneffe Atoll
Atoll
lies directly to the east of Belize
Belize
City and is the nearest of the atolls to the capital. These different reefs provide diverse scuba diving opportunities that include walls, pinnacles and reef flats that are located throughout an enormous area of sea.[2]

Contents

1 Species 2 Environmental protection 3 Gallery 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Species[edit] The Belize
Belize
Barrier Reef is home to a large diversity of plants and animals :

70 hard coral species 36 soft coral species 500 species of fish hundreds of invertebrate species

With 90% of the reef still needing to be researched, it is estimated that only 10% of all species have been discovered.[3] Environmental protection[edit] A large portion of the reef is protected by the Belize
Belize
Barrier Reef Reserve System, which includes seven marine reserves, 450 cayes, and three atolls. It totals 960 square kilometres (370 sq mi) in area, including:

Glover's Reef
Glover's Reef
Marine Reserve Great Blue Hole South Water Caye
Caye
Marine Reserve Half Moon Caye
Caye
Natural Monument Hol Chan Marine Reserve Cayes include: Ambergris Caye, Caye
Caye
Caulker, Caye
Caye
Chapel, Carrie Bow Caye, St. George's Caye, English Caye, Rendezvous Caye, Gladden Caye, Ranguana Caye, Long Caye, Moho Caye, Blackbird Caye, Three Corner Caye, Northern Caye, Tobacco Caye, and Sandbore Caye.

In 1996 the Reserve System was designated a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
due to its vulnerability and the fact that it contains the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity (according to criteria VII, IX, and X). Belize
Belize
became the first country in the world to completely ban bottom trawling in December 2010.[4][5] In December 2015, Belize
Belize
banned offshore oil drilling within 1 km of the Barrier Reef.[6] Despite these protective measures, the reef remains under threat from oceanic pollution as well as uncontrolled tourism, shipping, and fishing. Other threats include hurricanes, along with global warming and the resulting increase in ocean temperatures,[7] which causes coral bleaching. It is claimed by scientists that over 40% of Belize's coral reef has been damaged since 1998.[1] The Belize
Belize
Barrier Reef has been affected by mass-bleaching events. The first mass bleaching occurred in 1995, with an estimated mortality of 10 percent of coral colonies, according to a report by the Coastal Zone Management Institute in Belize. A second mass-bleaching event occurred, when Hurricane Mitch
Hurricane Mitch
struck in 1998. Biologists observed a 48 percent reduction in live coral cover across the Belize
Belize
reef system. Usually, it is hard to distinguish whether the reason for coral bleaching is human activities or natural reasons such as storms or bacterial fluctuations. But in the case of the Belize
Belize
Barrier Reef, many factors which make the distinction difficult do not apply. Human population in this area is much more sparse than the corresponding areas near other coral reefs, so the human activity and pollution are much lower compared to other coral reefs and the Belize
Belize
reef system is in a much more enclosed area. When coral bleaching occurs, a large part of the coral dies, and the remaining part of the ecosystem begins the process of repairing the damage. But the chances of recovery are low, as corals that are bleached become much more vulnerable to disease. Disease often kills more corals than the bleaching event itself. With continuous bleaching, the coral reef will have little to no chance of recovery.[8] Gallery[edit]

Green sea turtle
Green sea turtle
with remora fish on its back

Close-up view of the reef

Barrier reef aerial

Snorkeling
Snorkeling
the reef

Fan corals of the reef

The Belize
Belize
Barrier Reef photographed from the International Space Station in 2016

See also[edit]

List of reefs World Heritage Sites in Danger

References[edit]

^ a b Harrabin, Roger. (2006-06-12) Reef at forefront of CO2 battle . BBC News. Retrieved on 2011-10-21. ^ "Scuba Diving in Belize: The Blue Hole, Ambergris and Turneffe Atoll". dive-the-world.com.  ^ Belize
Belize
Barrier Reef Case Study. Westminster.edu. Retrieved on 2011-10-21. ^ "Guatemalans trawling in Belize’s southern waters". Channel 5 Belize. 27 February 2013. Retrieved on 2013-02-28. ^ " Belize
Belize
Bans Bottom Trawling in Exclusive Economic Zone". Oceana.org.8 December 2010. Retrieved on 2013-02-28. ^ "Government Implements Ban On Offshore Drilling". 7 News Belize. Retrieved 23 December 2015.  ^ " Coral
Coral
Collapse in Caribbean". BBC News. May 4, 2000. Retrieved on October 21, 2011. ^ Brian Handwerk and Lauri Hafvenstein Belize
Belize
Reef Die-Off Due to Climate Change?. National Geographic. March 25, 2003

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Belize
Belize
Barrier Reef.

UNESCO World Heritage website

v t e

Protected areas of Belize

National parks

Aguas Turbias Bacalar Chico Billy Barquedier Chiquibul Five Blues Lake Gra Gra Lagoon Guanacaste Honey Camp Laughing Bird Caye Mayflower Bocawina Monkey Bay Elijio Panti Payne's Creek Peccary Hills Río Blanco Sarstoon-Temash St. Herman's Blue Hole

Natural monuments

Actun Tunichil Muknal Blue Hole Half Moon Caye Thousand Foot Falls Victoria Peak

Nature reserves

Bladen Burdon Canal Tapir Mountain

Wildlife sanctuaries

Aguacaliente Cockscomb Basin Corozal Bay Crooked Tree Gales Point Spanish Creek Swallow Caye

Forest reserves

Caye
Caye
Caulker Chiquibul Columbia River Deep River Fresh Water Creek Grants Work Machaca Manatee Mango Creek Monkey Caye Mountain Pine Ridge Maya Mountain Sibun Sittee River Swasey Bladen Vaca

Marine reserves

Bacalar Chico Caye
Caye
Caulker Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Glover's Reef Hol Chan Port Honduras Sapodilla Cayes South Water Caye

Archaeological reserves

Altun Ha Barton Creek Cahal Pech Caracol Cerro Maya El Pilar Lamanai Lubaantun Marco Gonzalez Nim Li Punit Nohoch Che'en Santa Rita Serpon Sugar Mill Xunantunich Yarborough Cemetery

Other reserves

Aguacate Lagoon Bird sanctuaries Block 127 Community Baboon Sanctuary Golden Stream Monkey Bay Río Bravo Runaway Creek Shipstern

v t e

Corals and coral reefs

Stony corals

Blue Brain Elegance Elkhorn Hermatypic Chalice Pillar Staghorn Table

Soft corals

Bamboo Black Organ pipe Sea fans Sea pens

Coral
Coral
reefs

Atoll Cay Coral Fringing Microatoll Coral reef
Coral reef
fish Census of Coral
Coral
Reefs The Structure and Distribution of Coral
Coral
Reefs Catlin Seaview Survey Spur and groove formation

Coral
Coral
regions

List of reefs Deep-water coral African coral reefs Amazon Reef Andros, Bahamas Belize
Belize
Barrier Reef Coral
Coral
Sea Islands Coral
Coral
Triangle Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Great Barrier Reef Maldives Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System New Caledonia barrier reef Pulley Ridge Raja Ampat Islands Red Sea Southeast Asian coral reefs

Coral
Coral
diseases

Coral
Coral
bleaching Black band disease Skeletal eroding band White band disease White pox disease

Protection

Coral
Coral
Reef Alliance Coral reef
Coral reef
protection Green Fins International Society for Reef Studies Project AWARE Reef Check Reef Ball

Other

Artificial reef Aquaculture of coral Coral
Coral
dermatitis Precious coral Coral
Coral
rag Coral reef
Coral reef
organizations Coral
Coral
sand Coralline algae Environmental issues with coral reefs Fire coral Reef resilience Rugosa
Rugosa
(extinct) Sym

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