The largest reef complex in the Atlantic-Caribbean region it represents the second largest reef system in the world.
While at the level of component protected areas of this serial staff the managers and the staff are generally doing an adequate job of controlling visitation, fishing and other in-water activities, the broader issue of adequate coastal zone management and zoning of land development need have been a concern for a number of years.
However, significant progress has recently been achieved in developing an overarching framework for addressing these issues, particularly through the development of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan. The recent development of a legislate a ban on off-shore oil operations in Belizean waters, even if it remains to be officially adopted, also represents a very positive step.
If effectively implemented and enforced these and other recently developed regulations can provide a clear framework for addressing the threats to the property and therefore enable the values previously affected by different factors to recover in the future.
While the progress achieved needs to be celebrated, the conservation outlook for the property remains of significant concern until it can be demonstrated that the threats to the property could indeed be reduced.
|Top Attractions in Belize||The largest reef complex in the Atlantic-Caribbean region it represents the second largest reef system in the world. The unique array of reef types within one self-contained area distinguishes the BBRRS from other reef systems.|
|Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System - UNESCO World Heritage Centre||Since then it has become renowned as the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.|
|Belize Barrier Reef Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System Truly one of the great natural wonders of the world, the Belize Barrier Reef is home to one of the most abundant and diverse marine ecosystems found anywhere on the planet. Measuring more than miles long, the reef is part of the bigger Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System that stretches from Mexico to Honduras, making it the second biggest coral reef system in the world, and the largest in the hemisphere.|
|In the Reserve System was designated a 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 became the first country in the world to completely ban bottom trawling in December|
Read moreRead less Current state and trend of VALUES High Concern Trend Stable The values for which the site was inscribed on the World Heritage List are still clearly demonstrated; however, they are being affected by a number of threats, including coastal development, invasive species and climate change.
However, these figures are for the whole part of the Mesoamerican Reef located in Belize and the condition of the reefs within the World Heritage Site is expected to be better.
The property remains the longest barrier reef in the Northern and Western Hemispheres and is still considered unique in the world for its array of reef types contained in a relatively small area.
However, the pristine nature of the site has been undermined a number of factors, especially growth of tourism, real estate and tourism infrastructure development. It is hoped that with the recent positive developments in the legislative framework, a number of threats can be addressed more efficiently, allowing for some values of the site to recover in the future.
Read moreRead less Overall THREATS High Threat Coastal development, tourism growth, overfishing, invasive species and the multiple impacts of climate change coral reef bleaching events, increased frequency and severity of storms; and sea level rise are all very serious factors that negatively affect the overall integrity of the site.
The most serious potential threat to the values of the site is oil exploration and drilling. While the recent development of a legislation that would introduce an indefinite moratorium on offshore oil operations in Belizean waters represents a significant step in ensuring that threats to the property from potential offshore oil operations are eliminated, until the legislation is officially adopted, the level of threat remains high.
While management of these components can be quite effective and certain issues, such as tourism and fishing, are well-controlled, some issues, particularly land development, require cooperation across the whole site.
Particularly, serious concerns have previously been expressed with regard to sale and lease of lands within the property and development of those areas. Recently, significant progress has been in achieved in a number of areas, allowing for the relevant regulations to be streamlined. It is however essential that new legislative instruments such as the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan are effectively implemented in order to provide clear guidance for any kind of development activities within the World Heritage site and its buffer zone.
It is also important that the revised Mangrove Regulation also reflects the need for stronger protection within the World Heritage Site. You can also view the entire list of information by clicking Expand all on the top left.A system of marine and coastal protected areas is being set up as part of the Coastal Zone Management Plan that is being prepared for the country.
So far there are three protected areas that include reefs: Half Moon Caye Natural Monument on Lighthouse Reef, Hol Chan Marine Reserve on the Barrier Reef, and Glovers Reef Marine Reserve. A large portion of the reef is protected by the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, which includes seven marine reserves, cayes, and three atolls.
It totals km² in area, including Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, Great Blue Hole, Halfmoon Caye Natural Monument, Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System. Truly one of the great natural wonders of the world, the Belize Barrier Reef is home to one of the most abundant and diverse marine ecosystems found . Home to a plethora of plants and animals, the reef is protected by the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System which includes seven marine reserves, cayes, and three atolls.
It totals km² in area, including Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, the great Blue Hole, Halfmoon Caye Natural Monument, and Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System consists of 7 protected sites and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The system includes the crown jewels of the mile long Belize Barrier Reef as well as 2 of the 3 atolls in offshore Belize: Lighthouse Reef and Glovers Reef. The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System is located about half a mile from the windward side of the island, where you can find several Belize Barrier Reef resorts.
It is the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and the second longest in the world.