Belize celebrates 10,000 years of its coral reef

Belize celebrates 10,000 years of its coral reef

Belize as we know it the small English-speaking country in Central America perched along the Caribbean Sea It’s been around since 1981, but the coral reef just off the country’s coast turns 10,000 this year.

Belize’s Barrier Reef is the second largest reef system in the world, after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and home to three of the four atolls in the Caribbean Sea. Its most recognizable feature is the Great Blue Hole, a must-visit destination for snorkelers and snorkelers around the world.

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Of course, the exact age of this biodiverse ecosystem can vary, but much of the cause for celebration is due to the successful efforts Belize has made to preserve its environment despite the threats of climate change and pollution. endemic.

Belize has made multiple conservation efforts in recent years, including banning offshore drilling, designating no-take marine protected areas, establishing the “Fish Right, Eat Right” program, and phasing out plastic at sea. Disposable. In fact, Belize’s Barrier Reef was removed from the United Nations list of endangered places after nearly a decade and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Animals like sea turtles, manatees and countless species of fish are now feeling the benefits of a healthier reef.

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The country’s continued efforts in marine conservation have made Belize one of the world leaders in protecting the ocean and its precious habitat. National organizations like Oceana Belize and MarAlliance work tirelessly to advocate for marine health, bolstering local action to the point that environmental preservation has become a cultural marker for Belize.

“Conservation has always been part of Belize’s DNA,” says Hon. Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations of Belize. “Through intensive efforts spanning decades, nearly half of the entire nation has been protected as a nature preserve/reserve, wildlife sanctuary or national park.”

Even beyond the coast, luxury resorts like Chaa Creek in San Ignacio bring that mentality to the jungle environment, with biodegradable products, environmental education programs and an on-site organic farm to supply the restaurant. . No matter where you are in Belize, this spirit of conservation is strong.

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Belize will celebrate the 10,000th anniversary of the reef with events during the first half of June, starting in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, through Turneffe Atoll, south to Hopkins. Events include snorkeling and diving trips to Hol Chan and Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, kayaking, fishing competitions and cookouts. “The goal of the upcoming anniversary festivities is not only to promote the Reef brand internationally,” continued Minister Mahler, “but also to give the public the opportunity to experience the value of this ecosystem. incredibly beautiful yet very fragile marine environment, and encourage positive actions that will not only preserve but also allow Belize’s barrier reef to thrive for thousands of years to come.

In typical Belizean fashion, these celebrations are bound to be lively, colorful, musical and delicious. Even when there’s nothing specific to throw a party, Belizean hospitality means good times are almost a guarantee, whether a visitor is dipping fries in Marie Sharp’s hot habanero sauce or beating traditional drums Garifuna at Hopkins.

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There are also countless ways to get closer to the Belize Barrier Reef when the celebrations have died down. Book a stay at Turneffe Island Resort for a personalized fishing or snorkeling experience – including the Great Blue Hole – and discover the serenity of being a luxury spurned. Or, charter a voyage with Belize Sailing Vacations so you never have to leave the sea if you don’t want to.

At a time when so much about the global ecosystem is under threat, this anniversary is worth celebrating.

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