The Belize Barrier Reef stretches 220 km along Belize’s shoreline and has earned its place as the second largest unbroken reef system in the world. This worldly acclaim only partially represents the reef’s importance, as its role as a critical host to a myriad of marine life is unparalleled. It is extremely critical to the livelihood of the Belizean populace as it offers great ecological and socio-economic benefits .
In 1996, in recognition of both its scientific and aesthetic importance, the World Heritage Site Committee formally adopted a portion of the reef system called the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (View info and Map) as a World Heritage Site.
Despite the reef’s importance, as in other countries around the world, it faces serious threats, both natural and more often, human caused. Impacts from these threats are some of the variables that the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute attempts to assess.