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Belize begins assessment of ‘worst coral bleaching event in a decade’

Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2024. 3:53 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Fisheries Department reports that Belize’s Barrier Reef has suffered a major coral bleaching event, “arguably one of the worst” it has seen “in a decade.”

Coral bleaching is caused mainly by a rise in seawater temperatures in combination with chronic local stressors and practices, as described by the Department. There is no known cure for affected coral.

The Department states that “there is the need to rely on approaches that support the ability of coral ecosystems to become more tolerant, resistant, and resilient to their external stressors.”

It adds that “The causes of these mass bleaching events are beyond our national actions; however, Belize aims to join countries like Barbados and Maldives in lobbying for more urgent carbon dioxide reductions and to ensure appropriate compensation/mitigation to address the damages already done. The agreement for establishing and operationalizing a loss and damage fund at the Conference of Parties (COP27) makes strides in ensuring that small island nations like Belize can continue efforts in safeguarding our national coral reef treasure, which is central to the security of our citizenry and livelihoods.”

 

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