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Aug 31, 2001

Organisations meet to protect marine resources

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In 1996, The Belize Barrier Reef along with seven other marine protected areas was declared World Heritage Sites. But as Belize develops, these sites have come under increased pressure, threatening their sustainability. Today, a one-day seminar to discuss the Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation Project, COMPACT, was held at the Biltmore Plaza. According to Philip Balderamos, co-ordinator of the UNDP/Global Environmental Fund Small Grants Programme, the threats to our reef systems are both direct and indirect.

Philip Balderamos, Co-ordinator, UNDP/GEF Small Grants Prog.

“The threats to the seven marine reserves that make up the Barrier Reef Reserve Systems are direct threats and indirect threats. Some of the direct threats are caused by inappropriate use, high level of activities from major users from the fishing sector and the tourism sector, but basically, those direct threats are because of inappropriate use. The more indirect threats stem from activities not directly on site, but removed from the site, such as coming in from international waters or from inland sources of pollution. There is also the over use of agro chemicals and other inappropriate forms of agriculture that transport heavy loads of sediment and pesticides out to the reserves. But in fact the reserves have various types of ecosystems such as corals, such as mangroves, seagrass and very high levels of bio diversity: fish, marine reptiles, birds and different types of living organism and all of these come under some form of threat.”

The seminar was hosted by Programme for Belize, the Association of National Development, and the Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technology.

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