To boost marine life, Belize adding no-take zones


By planning no-take zones to ensure fish are sheltered throughout their life cycle, Belize is becoming a regional leader in fisheries protection. (Photo by John Rae, courtesy of EDF)

Belize is set to nearly triple the size of marine protected areas where fishing is banned, greatly expanding a years-long effort to reverse the effects of overfishing and defend biodiversity on the Belize Barrier Reef, the world’s second-largest barrier reef. Under a plan approved in April by the Belizean Cabinet, replenishment zones, known as “no-take” zones, will cover nearly 12% of Belizean waters, up from 4.5% today. The move forms part of a series of marine-conservation initiatives aimed at protecting dozens of reef-fish species and valuable stocks of queen conch (Lobatus gigas or Strombus gigas) and spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) depleted by overfishing. The efforts, including the introduction three years ago of a national fishing-rights program and regulations that outlaw offshore oil exploration, have turned the small, Central American country into a model for fisheries management, experts say. Doug Rader, chief ocean scientist at... [Log in to read more]

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