Protecting the Coral Reefs
Location: Lighthouse Reef Atoll - Belize
by Wayne & Karen Brown
We have had lots of fun exploring Belize's Great Barrier Reef. We have been glad to discover that the coral reefs here appear clean and healthy. On last year's expedition (2001: A Sea Odyssey) some of the corals reefs we explored were not clean and healthy.
Coral reefs can be damaged and killed by many different things, such as - water too hot or too cold, fresh water, silt or sediment, pollution (sewage, fertilizers, toxic chemicals), overfishing, people walking on coral, people taking coral, and boat dropping anchors on coral.
Fortunately the people of Belize are working to protect the corals reefs. The government of Belize has made laws that have set up marine parks to prevent taking coral, walking on coral and overfishing. People are working with the government to help protect the coral reefs. The Belize Audubon Society works with the government to take care of the marine parks. Scuba diving businesses work with the government to prevent damage to the coral reefs from boat anchors. These business have put special boat moorings on all the scuba diving sites so dive boats will not have to drop anchors on the coral. (Belize Aggressor III has used these moorings at all the places we have stopped for scuba diving.)
Even though the coral reefs are protected here more will have to be done. Right now Belize is increasing its agriculture. Farmers in Belize are putting in orange trees so they can export oranges to other countries. As the land is cleared for the orange trees soil can wash into the rivers and out to the sea. This silt or sediment can cover the corals and kill them. As farmers use more fertilizers for growing these fertilizers can wash into the rivers and out to the sea, too. These fertilizers can cause the algae to grow very fast, covering the corals and killing them. (We saw both of these problems occuring on the coral reefs near St. Kitts on last year's expedition - 2001: A Sea Odyssey).
We hope the people of Belize will continue to work together with each other and the government to protect the coral reefs so that you and your family can one day visit Belize and see healthy coral reefs. (CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE DIVE SITES WE EXPLORED ON THE BELIZE AGGRESSOR III.)
Belize Aggressor III has returned to Belize City. We enjoyed our time on Belize Aggressor III and meeting Captain Ken, Divemaster Juan and the rest of the crew. (CLICK HERE TO MEET THE CREW OF BELIZE AGGRESSOR III.)
It is now time for us to get off the boat and start our land expedition to explore the rainforests. Before we enter the rainforests join us tomorrow as we visit some friends in Belize City to find out how they celebrate Christmas.
Wayne & Karen Brown
Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Belize
Position: 17º 13' N / 87º 36' W
Air Temp: 87ºF
Weather: light breeze, sunny with scattered clouds and calm seas.
Water Temp: 81ºF
On her scooter Karen cruises over a healthy coral reef along Belize's Great Barrier Reef.
Karen cruises by one of the special underwater moorings that Belize Aggressor III is tied to. The rope you see going up to the surface is tied to a float. Our boat just ties onto the rope instead of dropping the anchor on the coral reef.
The Belize Aggressor III returns to its dock in Belize City.