(Riviera Maya, Mexico – March 9, 2018) Today at the World Ocean Summit, the government of Belize has announced it will expand its network of no-take zones, a type of marine protected area, from approximately 3 percent to over 10 percent by the end of 2018. The expanded areas are managed in concert with a national secure fishing rights program established in 2016
This new expansion comes as Belize was recently recognized for the impact of its sustainable fisheries. According to the most recent ‘Mesoamerican Reef Report Card’ by Healthy Reef for Healthy People, Belize’s no-take zones show growing fish populations and biodiversity.
Along the Belize Barrier Reef there is magnificent biodiversity - mangroves, corals, seagrass, cayes and their populations of conch, lobster, and reef fish. In 2016, in response to growing threats to the health of their fisheries, Belize established a nationwide secure fishing rights program, the first of its kind in the world.
Together, managed access and no-take zones are designed to help rebuild fish populations while protecting critical habitat. The expansion announced today will help Belize meet the challenge of protecting the second largest barrier reef in the world, while ensuring its resources can help meet sustainable development goals.
“These remarkable efforts in Belize have already demonstrated reductions in illegal fishing, models of community-based co-management of fisheries, and improvements in the health of its valuable coral reef ecosystem,” said Larry Epstein, Director for EDF. “Those looking to invest in countries committed to sustainable fishing reforms should take note.”
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