Did you know that the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (BBRRS), which was inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1996, is comprised of seven protected areas? The seven protected areas of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System are:
1) Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve
2) Blue Hole Natural Monument
3) Half Moon Caye Natural Monument
4) Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve
5) South Water Caye Marine Reserve
6) Laughing Bird Caye National Park
7) Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve
The Belize Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize, roughly 300 meters (980 ft) offshore in the north and 40 kilometers (25 mi) in the south within the country limits. The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300-kilometer (190 mi) long section of the 900-kilometer (560 mi) Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is continuous from Cancún on the north-eastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula through the Riviera Maya and down to Honduras.
It is the largest reef complex in the Atlantic-Caribbean region and represents the second-largest reef system in the world. The seven protected areas that constitute the BBRRS comprise 12% of the entire Reef Complex. The Belize Barrier Reef is Belize’s top tourist destination, popular for scuba diving and snorkeling and attracting almost half of its 260,000 visitors. It is also vital to the country’s fishing industry.