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Belize and Mexico at Forefront of Struggle to Save Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

LADB Article ID: 79960
Category/Department: Region
Date: 2016-04-28
By: Louisa Reynolds

Belize and Mexico have made the greatest progress in terms of implementing the necessary measures to save and protect the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, also known as the Great Mayan Reef, which stretches over 1000 kilometers from the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, down to Belize, Guatemala, and the Bay Islands of Honduras, says a report issued by the Healthy Reefs Initiative (Iniciativa Arrecifes Saludables) on March 10. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is home to more than 65 species of stony coral, 350 species of mollusk and more than 500 species of fish. In recent years, it has come under pressure from the tourism industry, large-scale agriculture, and rising sea temperatures as a result of global warming, which have provoked an increase in “bleaching” or loss of pigmentation in coral reefs. As a region, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras have implemented 62% of the measures recommended to protect the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, an improvement on the second report, published in 2011, which showed 54% of the recommendations had been implemented.

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