February 10, 2012
In the first Eco-Audit of the Mesoamerican Reef, it has been determined that although progress is being made, more must be done to protect this fragile ecosystem, which is also one of Dr. Earle’s Hope Spots. In the summer of 2011, Dr. Earle and her team mounted an expedition to the Swan Islands of Honduras, bringing increased focus to the region. The Mesoamerican reef runs over 600 miles from Mexico south to Honduras, and is a vital support system for this beautiful corner of our ocean planet.
|Dr. Sylvia Earle Explores a coral reef at Swan Island, (c) Kip Evans Photography|
The evaluation was carried out by The Healthy Reefs Initiative (HRI), in collaboration with the World Resources Institute (WRI), and nearly 40 local organizations, government agencies and companies. Economies in the region are highly dependent on marine resources, especially from tourism and fishing industries. In Belize alone, the reef was estimated to contribute approximately $395 – $559 million each year. The hope is that this information and subsequent remedial action taken will ensure a thriving Mesoamerican reef system for future generations.