Community-based Conservation Saves Belize Barrier Reef

Community-based conservation is playing an important role in empowering local tour guides, fishermen and volunteers with relevant skills and resources in saving the Belize Barrier Reef. The coastal community of Placencia Village in Stann Creek District, southern Belize has spent over a decade planting hundreds of thousands of fragments of coral among hurricane-ravaged reefs. The entire initiative has been coordinated by Fragments of Hope, which is a Belize-based non-profit. Guides, fishers, divers and snorkelers are trained to plant coral and monitor its development under a community-focused system,

Consequently, coral coverage in protected areas off the coast of Placencia rebound from 6 per cent to 60 per cent. It is vital to the Belizean economy because the reef accounts for 15 per cent of the country’s GDP and provides work for upwards of 200,000 people in the fishing and tourism industries. Placencia has become one of the most successful and long-lasting coral regeneration sites in the world, and the community-based conservation model is now being expanded to other sites.


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