Unesco Removes Belize Reef From Its Endangered List

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Good for all the fish species that live there.

Despite covering less than a thousandth of the ocean floor, coral reefs are home to more than a quarter of marine fish species. The state of reefs is considered an important indicator of the overall health of the seas.

Unesco said the government of the Central American country had taken “visionary” steps to preserve it.

The reef is the second largest in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

It is home to many threatened species including marine turtles, manatees and the American marine crocodile.It was a drop of good news about the world’s oceans: The Belize Barrier Reef, the largest barrier reef system in the Northern Hemisphere, has been removed from the United Nations list of endangered world heritage sites.

United Nations officials initially cited “mangrove cutting and excessive development” as the main concern when the reef was added to the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2009. They have also expressed concern about oil exploration. Since then, the Belize government has imposed a moratorium on oil exploration around the reef and implementedprotections for coastal mangrove forests.

The Belize Barrier Reef system, which extends roughly 200 miles, was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1996. The system is made up of a series of coral reefs, cays and islands, many of which are covered with mangroves.

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