Sunday September 22, 2019
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Territorial Waters As A Protected Area For Recovery of Ecosystem in Belize

"A healthy reef and vibrant fisheries sector is necessary for Belize to achieve its goals for reducing poverty, improving food security and nutrition and increasing investment," said Belize Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade in the EDF statement.

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Fish
This photo taken March 2009 shows a Rainbow Parrot fish, front, passing by a group of yellow tail snapper off Caye Caulker Island near the second largest barrier reef that runs along the coast of Belize. VOA

Belize approved a plan Friday to set aside 10 percent of its territorial waters as a protected area, tripling the size of existing reserves in the world’s second largest barrier reef, according to an environmental group.

The major expansion of the small Caribbean island’s protected areas follows a six-year effort by international scientists and conservation groups led by Belizeans, the Environmental Defense Fund said in a statement.

The coalition found zones that can protect marine habitat and allow for recovery of degraded ecosystems, while helping replenish fish stocks, the EDF said.

fish
Katie McGinty, EDF’s Senior Vice President for Oceans at Environmental Defense Fund, called Friday’s expansion of protected sites a “remarkable accomplishment that is setting an example for the rest of the world.”Pixabay

Coral reefs, diverse marine ecosystems formed from tiny organisms, have faced intensifying stress worldwide from rising ocean temperatures compounded by overfishing, pollution and tourism.

Scientists say they are key barometers of global warming.

The Belize government did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation of the move.

‘Critical condition’

Parts of the Belize reef, a World Heritage Site, are in “critical condition,” according to a 2018 report from environmental group Healthy Reef for Healthy People.

dolphin
The coalition found zones that can protect marine habitat and allow for recovery of degraded ecosystems, while helping replenish fish stocks, the EDF said. Pixabay

But a 2017 decision to ban offshore oil and gas activities was a step toward its possible removal from the World Heritage Site’s “in danger” list, the group said.

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“A healthy reef and vibrant fisheries sector is necessary for Belize to achieve its goals for reducing poverty, improving food security and nutrition and increasing investment,” said Belize Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade in the EDF statement.

Katie McGinty, EDF’s Senior Vice President for Oceans at Environmental Defense Fund, called Friday’s expansion of protected sites a “remarkable accomplishment that is setting an example for the rest of the world.” (VOA)

Next Story

Light Pollution at Night Disrupts Ecosystem, Says Study

In addition, invertebrates became less reliant on food sources that originate in the water when they were exposed to moderate light levels, results showed

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Pollution, U.S., Trump
Light Pollution at Night Disrupts Ecosystem, Says Study. VOA

Increased exposure to artificial or outdoor light, referred to as light pollution, at night not only raises health concerns for humans but can also significantly harm the entire ecosystem, says a new study.

The study showed that light at night affects species’ composition as well as their food chain length.

“Night-time light is having profound impacts that extend to the entire ecosystem,” said Mazeika Sullivan, Associate Professor from the Ohio State University in the US.

Artificial light is a pollutant, changing the natural course of life for people, animals and plants.

“We are experiencing this pollution that we do not think about, but it is all around us and it is chronic and it is happening everywhere. It is also unprecedented in earth’s history,” Sullivan added.

For the study, the team examined the effect of existing artificial light in streams and they manipulated the light in wetlands.

Smog, Air pollution
The study showed that light at night affects species’ composition as well as their food chain length. VOA

From those areas, they collected a variety of water-dwelling and land-dwelling invertebrate species, including mayflies, water bugs, ants and spiders.

Findings, published in the journal of Ecological Applications, demonstrated that species’ composition changed with an increase in light intensity.

They also discovered that the food chain length of the invertebrate communities shortened with more light, indicating that the ecosystem is less complex.

“Decreases in food chain length are a pretty big deal as it reflects not just changes in the architecture of an ecosystem — the numbers of various species — but also shifts in ecosystem stability and nutrient flows,” said Sullivan.

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In addition, invertebrates became less reliant on food sources that originate in the water when they were exposed to moderate light levels, results showed.

Interventions such as carefully directing light, using motion sensors to activate lights only when they are needed and dimming them when human activity is minimal could all have the potential to lessen the effects of lighting near wildlife, the study noted. (IANS)