Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Agriculture, Economy » “Poor” Report Card 2022 for the Mesoamerican Reef
Jun 6, 2022

“Poor” Report Card 2022 for the Mesoamerican Reef

Today, a preview of the 2022 Mesoamerican Reef Report Card was launched and the news is not so good. The preliminary report by Healthy Reefs Initiative finds that the health of the reef has declined. The data was collected by seventy-seven surveyors from thirty-six organizations, between June and December, 2021. The data revealed that of the two hundred and thirty-four sites in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, which are used to produce the report card, forty-four percent are ranked as poor. The number of sites ranked as critical has also doubled to thirty-one percent; only twelve sites, or five percent, were found in good condition across the entire reef. News Five’s Duane Moody spoke with Country Coordinator Nicole Craig about what’s been happening in Belize.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Approximately three million people depend on healthy reefs for food, as a source of income and protection from natural disasters, so protecting the reef is critical.  But the Mesoamerican Reef Report Card 2022 suggests that the health of the reef has declined over the last five years. Nicole Craig, Country Coordinator for Healthy Reefs, says that the report has shown a decline in the reef health to a “poor” rating, similar to 2006.


Nicole Craig

Nicole Craig, Country Coordinator, Healthy Reefs (Belize)

“The region experienced a decline and if you wanna zoom into Belize, we saw a national decline. We went from 3.0 to 2.0 overall, but that 2.0 is made up of scoring a couple indicators. So we are going to score fleshy macroalgae, commercial fish, herbivorous fish and live coral cover.”


The grades are one to five – the conditions are from critical to very good. The reef health index says that this year’s regional score is two point three out of five. This is the second decline since the region’s best score in 2018. It is a reflection of the Mesoamerican Reef which encompasses four countries, including Belize, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala. Zoning into Belize, Craig explains the critical figures.


Nicole Craig

“In terms of commercial fish and herbivorous fish, we have seen some serious declines. I believe commercial fish went down by sixty percent and herbivorous fish down by fifty percent and these are alarming numbers. For example, commercial fish is in critical condition and in five of our sub regions it is in critical condition so that is pretty alarming.”

“In terms of fleshy macroalgae that decreased by one percent and that is what we want to see. We want to see less algae on the reef – the less the better and it has been declining over the past few years, but it is still at eighteen percent and that’s still too high. And that’s threatened even more now by the decrease that we see in herbivorous fish. So there is an initiative underway that’s gonna address this. So we’ve collaborated with TASA, the Tourneffe Atoll Sustainability Association. We are working on a culture program that’s going to grow crabs that eat algae and in collaboration with fishermen, as soon as we figure out how to grow them; we are going to put more of these crabs out on the reef.”


There is some good news as it relates to coral cover, which increased by one percent overall.


Nicole Craig

“Coral cover; that’s part of the good news in this story. It showed a one percent increase that it has actually been increasing by one percent at a time over the past few report cards. We are mentioning that the reefs are facing a lot. Warmer waters, more frequent bleaching events and these are stressing the reef. And so between that and more diseases, there are a lot of changes were are seeing in the types of corals. So we are seeing less of the bigger ones like the brains and the boulder corals – the ones that really help to build our reef structure – and those are the same ones that are kinda impacted by the coral tissue loss disease.”


There’s an ongoing project using an antibiotic treatment for coral being affected by this tissue loss disease. The results have been positive and so the project will be scaled up.


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed