Belize boasts the second largest coral reef system in the world which measures a total of 300 kilometers in length and can best be described as a patchwork of pinnacle reefs, fringing reefs and barrier reefs with hundreds of Cayes just above the surface along with mangrove and sand islands. This reef system has been highlighted internationally for its beauty and as a top snorkel destination for snorkelers all around the globe. Local environmental agencies have however been speaking out on the many dangers being posed to Belize’s Barrier Reef such as unsustainable fishing, deteriorating water quality and development.
Today, the continued dangers to the Belize Barrier Reef are once more getting international attention this time via CNN. In its latest online article entitled “8 endangered sites to see now”, the international news agency notes the great economic loss that can be suffered if the site continues to lose its value. A lack of oversight is the main reason for the progressive loss of Belize’s massive reef system, according to the article. At the moment the Great Blue Hole Marine Park charges forty US dollars for entry while scuba diving trips begin at two hundred and forty dollars upward and snorkeling trips are from sixty five US dollars. According to the article with the lack of urgent attention needed to protect and preserve what remains, the Barrier Reef will lose its status as a tourist attraction, fast.
As it relates to efforts made toward its protection and preservation, the Government of Belize has, over the years, embarked on trainings and public awareness on the importance of the reef to Belize’s tourism industry.