Belize will be featured in the October issue of National Geographic Magazine. The magazine is concentrating on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which highlights Belize’s own Barrier Reef. This news was shared with us by Healthy Reefs Initiative and this morning Love News spoke with Roberto Pott, the Belize Coordinator of Healthy Reefs for Healthy People, which is an organization that works regionally to try to continuously report on the Health of the Reef. He told us more about the National Geographic October Issue.
Healthy Reefs Initiative
“We’re very excited about the next upcoming issue in October. We all know of the quality and the popularity of National Geographic and we are very excited that they chose the Meso-American Reef to feature in their magazine. The Meso-American Reef starts mostly off the shore of Quintana Roo coming down all the way down south to Honduras. Of course, a lot of people will point out that Belize has the biggest portion of that and so the Belize Barrier Reef System which has been recognized by the World Heritage Site is a big part of the Meso-American Barrier Reef. The magazine captures a lot of the diversity that we have and the richness of that diversity but it also speaks of the importance of the systems, like mangrove systems and the coral systems serve. One of the things that we recognize and a lot of people can attest to, it’s not just about the beauty of the reef or what tourists come to see or even the importance of the various species in terms of global biodiversity; the reef is important to Belize for Belizeans. For example, we have looked at parrot fish as one of those key species, not so much because we eat it but because the parrot fish is important for maintaining the health of the reef; it helps to eat algae (what we would call ‘marass’ in Belize) without that specie you start seeing big growths on your reef and you run the risk of losing your reef because of the growth of algae on your reef, the growth of marass and so it’s important for us and we’ve taken the steps here in Belize to protect that specie and it’s something we would want to see in the region and that’s the importance of looking at it from a regional perspective because if we are doing things good in Belize but our neighbors are doing things contrary to us then we stand to fail and so looking at it from a regional perspective we are trying to address the issues with the help of our neighbors.”
Pott shared his expectations of what the feature in the magazine might bring to the reef
Healthy Reefs Initiative
“Well one of the things that the region has been working on through several bodies is trying to get management action and trying to get the countries in this region not only recognize that things are getting bad but trying to see what we can do. Healthy Reefs in particular have started to look at policy and even site management issues as part of an eco-audit that we did earlier this year and we are about to publish an update on the health of the reef. It’s important for us to recognize how valuable this resource is, what the state is and that will be discussed in the report card coming up and hopefully in December this year we start looking at what we need to do going forward.”
The October issue can be viewed in www.nationalgeographic.com and by typing Mesoamerican reef in the search engine of the website. There is also an application for I pad users including interactive maps. According to Pott, the magazine will be released in the first week of October.
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