Belize Barrier Reef to celebrate 20 years as World Heritage Site
Friday, August 5th, 2016
December of this year will mark the 20th anniversary of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (BBRRS) being inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tittle was awarded in 1996, as the BBRRS is the largest reef complex in the Atlantic-Caribbean region, representing the second longest reef system in the world. To celebrate this momentous achievement, Wildlife Conservation Society, Belize Program (WCS) and a number of conservation stakeholders have organized a variety of activities.
This year’s anniversary celebrations are being held under the theme “The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System: supporting our economy through health biodiversity”. While the theme has already been selected, the logo for the celebrations is up for a design competition. Everyone is encouraged to submit their entries and be a part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of our reef system.
Logos must be original, have high resolution imagery, integrate the theme and UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre logo and be black and white compatible. Deadline for submissions is Friday, August 12th. The winner of the competition will receive a cash prize, a trip for two to any World Heritage Site and their logo on T-shirts. Submission can be made through emailing them or through Facebook at www.facebook.com/Belize-World-Heritage-Site
BBRRS is comprised of seven protected areas; Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve, Blue Hole Natural Monument, Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, Laughing Bird Caye National Park and Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve. The seven protected areas that constitute the BBRRS comprise 12% of the entire Reef Complex. BBRRS provides important habitat for a number of threatened marine species, including the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), and the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus). It is a refuge for endemic and migratory birds which reproduce in the littoral forests of cayes, atolls and coastal areas. There are approximately 247 species of marine flora within the BBRRS, and over 500 fish, 65 sceleritian coral, 45 hydroid and 350 mollusc, in addition to a great diversity of sponges, marine worms and crustaceans.
The BBRRS status as a World Heritage Site means it is protected under the laws of Belize in an effort to preserve it for future generations.