Protected Areas

Co-Management of Marine Protected Areas in Southern Belize

SEA Belize co-manages two wonderful protected areas in Southern Belize; namely the Laughing Bird Caye National Park (LBCNP) and the Gladden Spit & Silk Cayes Marine Reserve (GSSCMR); and also keeps a researching eye on the Placencia Lagoon. Our Rangers play dual roles as the guardians of the marine resources and Ambassadors for Tourism. Besides monitoring attendance and collecting admission tickets, they are responsible for ensuring that all visitors to the protected areas have a safe and ecologically-sound experience.

Marine Protected Areas

Laughing Bird Caye National Park (LBCNP) is situated on the western side of the Victoria Channel, 11 miles off the coast from Placencia Village in the Stann Creek District of Belize. It is a mini-atoll or Faro, with a white sandy beach and a miniature reef surrounding a natural swimming pool. This long narrow isle stands on an elongated ridge of reef known as a faro. The Laughing Bird faro is separated from the mainland, the barrier reef and other cayes by deep channels on all sides. Due to the uniqueness of the caye, the faro, and the abundant and diverse marine habitats and life, the caye was declared a protected area in 1981 under the National Parks System Act. On 21 December, 1991, Laughing Bird Caye National Park was declared. Finally, in 1996 the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System was inscribed on the World Heritage List with Laughing Bird Caye National Park designated as one of the premiere protected areas within the World Heritage Site.

Marine Protected Areas

Gladden Spit Silk Cayes Marine Reserve (GSSCMR) was declared a protected area in 2001 and in 2002 SEA began to co-manage the reserve along with the Government of Belize. GSSCMR was established to “protect the key reef ecosystems, the idyllic Silk Cayes, the spawning aggregation and whale sharks of Gladden Spit” within a multi-zoned marine reserve.

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