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World Wildlife Fund warns of Impact of Oil Exploration to Belize Barrier Reef

Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2016. 8:30 a.m. CST.

Diving Belize Barrier Reef

By BBN Staff: Nadia Bood, World Wildlife Fund’s Belize reef scientist has stated “Our reef is an engine for long term economic development in Belize. More than half of Belize’s population, around 190,000 people, are supported by income generated through tourism and fisheries.”

The WWF has warned about the possible impact on Belize’s barrier reef due to offshore oil exploration and explained that an oil spill could be catastrophic for the people of Belize, whose livelihoods depend on healthy marine and coastal ecosystems.

According to Prensa Latino, Bood stated that it is not too late to reverse the decision before the damage begins.

Last year, the government approved a policy that legally bans offshore oil exploration in all seven areas of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve site.

President of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, Osmany Salas had stated that “We should not jeopardize our vulnerable natural resources and beloved tourist attractions that are the very heart of our tourism industry.”

In a release issued by the government on Tuesday, GOB informed that it plans to start conducting seismic tests tomorrow in the waters of the Caribbean Sea, one kilometer from the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve site which is listed as World Heritage site in danger by UNESCO.

However, yesterday, the Seabird vessel (Northern Explorer) was seen carrying some airguns less than 10 miles from the Blue Hole between the Turneffe and Lighthouse Reef Atolls.

 

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