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Jun 8, 2022

Celebrating World Ocean Day 2022

It’s back-to-back celebration for the Belize Barrier Reef System, as World Ocean Day also recognizes the importance of the reef and marine biodiversity.  While we celebrate the ocean, there are still many challenges facing our sea spaces, including the threat of climate change.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Climate change is threatening the health and condition of the oceans, and prompt, concerted effort is needed across the world to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy the resources of the oceans in a sustainable manner.  To promote awareness about how to save the oceans today and sustainably use them in the future, the United Nations recognized June eighth as World Ocean Day.

 

Maxine Monsanto

Maxine Monsanto, Director of Blue Economy

“The theme for this year’s World Ocean Day is “Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean”.  To mobilize, come together to find a balance to sustainably use and sustainably manage our marine environment, gain a better understanding of the importance of the oceans and for us in Belize to raise awareness of the importance of our marine environment and our Belize barrier reef.  The oceans make up over seventy percent of the planet.  It is essential to support life and in today’s changing world, the oceans are at an increasing risk from climate change, from rising pollution, acidification of ocean water, rising average temperatures and reduction in ocean biodiversity.”

 

Through spreading awareness, World Ocean Day hopes to protect the Earth’s major water bodies.  This year’s theme focuses on how to not only stop harming the ocean but on actions that need to be taken in order to restore the oceans to their former glory through collective efforts.  World Ocean Day is being commemorated while Belize is also celebrating the ten thousandth anniversary of its barrier reef system.

 

Nadia Bood

Nadia Bood, World Wildlife Fund

“It is more than a suitable time for us to celebrate the reef.  Our barrier reef is indeed a pride and joy for us as a country and we must take time to celebrate it as much as possible.  Accompanying the celebration though, must be actions to protect, conserve and sustainably utilize our reef.  We have come a long way in getting our reef recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its outstanding universal value.  However, we must embrace this value nationally as well, given that our reefs provide so much in terms of food, livelihoods, physical protection and national economies.  We must embrace the benefits that we are receiving and do all we can so that we can continue to enjoy all the services that our reef and marine environment  provides to us.

 

While there are benefits that are being drawn from Belize’s marine resources, there are also concerns being raised about the presence of other invasive species in our waters.  Lionfish is one such specie that is wreaking havoc in the marine ecosystem.

 

Dianira Enriquez

Dianira Enriquez, Belioness

“The lionfish is an invasive species, it doesn’t have natural predators here in the Caribbean.  It comes from the Indo-pacific and someone introduced it to the Caribbean and it gives us a really bad impact to our barrier reef.  So the reason why we are here today is because we want to educate people and for people to learn about why we are doing the lionfish jewelry.  The reason behind it because a mature female lays up to twenty-five thousand eggs every four days and eats up to eighty percent of fishes that are around its zone.  So one lionfish can clean out an entire section by eating out all the little juveniles and those are the future fishes for our reef; without them, we will have no tourism industry and we will have no future for the reef.”

 

World Ocean Day seeks to promote knowledge about the delicate systems that govern the world’s oceanic system and how they are at risk from various factors.

 

Isani Cayetano For News Five


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