THE BELIZE BARRIER REEF, the second-largest reef system in the world, has been removed from the United Nations list of endangered world heritage sites.
The U.N. agency UNESCO voted Tuesday to remove the reef from its list of threatened sites, citing significant progress by the Belize government in protecting the reef, according to an article in the New York Times.
UNESCO placed the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (BBRRS) on the endangered list in 2009 due to concerns about coastal development and mangrove forest clearing. Since then the Belize government has placed a moratorium on oil exploration and put protections for mangroves in place.
UNIQUE & DIVERSE
Stretching some 200 miles, the BBRRS encompasses multiple offshore atolls, some 450 sand and mangrove cayes, coastal mangrove forests and “some of the best reef growth in the Caribbean,” according to the World Heritage Sites’ website for the BBRRS.
It’s considered unique in the world for its size, array of reef types and diversity of fishes, corals and other marine life. It’s most famous landmark may be the Blue Hole. Personally, I consider Half Moon Cay among the best sites I have ever dived.
PRINCIPAL SOURCES: “A Victory for Coral: Unesco Removes Belize Reef From Its Endangered List,” Tryggvi Adalbjornsson; “Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System,”