Posted: Wednesday, October 25, 2017. 9:10 a.m. CST.
By Zoila Palma: The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) issued a release yesterday stating that it congratulates the Government of Belize for its efforts to protect Belize’s maritime area, including the Belize Barrier Reef System, from offshore petroleum operations.
The introduction of the Petroleum Operations (Maritime Zone Moratorium) Act in the House of Representatives marks a historic step toward the protection of Belize’s spectacular marine resources and coral reefs, which our tourism industry and the livelihoods of thousands of Belizeans so very much depend on.
The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (BBRRS) has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1996. In addition, these marine ecosystems generate an estimated 559 million US dollars annually to the economy of Belize.
The BTIA says that the introduction of legislation to enshrine a moratorium on offshore oil exploration and operations is line with one of the requirements for the BBRRS to be removed from UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger.
The association says that it is pleased to see that the nation’s decision-makers understand and recognize the importance and value of our reef ecosystems, the threats that petroleum operations represent, and the need for the proper management of our natural resources.
“We must continue to work towards the sustainable development of the tourism industry and of the natural resources of Belize,” the association further stated in its release.
The BTIA is inviting the general public and NGOs to attend the Natural Resources and Environment House Committee Meeting scheduled for October 30, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at the National Assembly building in the City of Belmopan.
The meeting will be an opportunity to present comments on the proposed legislation.
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