Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve

Note: The data were entered in the language of the country of origin (English, French or Spanish) and there is no translation available yet.

Chapter 3. SITE DESCRIPTION

d - Human population and current activities

Inhabitants inside the area or in the zone of potential direct impact on the protected area:


Inside the area In the zone of potential direct impact
Permanent Seasonal Permanent Seasonal
Inhabitants 46 17 not given not given

Comments about the previous table:


There are 6 resorts on the Glover’s Atoll but only 5 are operational as Mata Ray Resort is up for sale. One Caye, Middle Caye does not have a resort but it has a research station and the Belize Fisheries Department is located there as well. The research station has guest periodically throughout the year and varies from year to year. The Fisheries Department has staff working on rotations but always has someone on site. The other resorts have minimum of a cook, a boat captain and a watchman on staff at any given time unless it’s a resort that the owners live at. Visitation to the resorts is seasonal.

Description of population, current human uses and development:


The Atoll is a traditional fishing area for lobster, conch and finfish, with the greatest activity occurring during the opening of the lobster and conch seasons. Thirty-five boats were recorded as active within the Atoll in 2005, primarily from Sarteneja, Hopkins, Dangriga, Belize City and occasionally Placencia, with an estimated total of 108 fishermen (73 sailboat fishermen, and 35 using skiffs) (Gibson and Hoare, 2006). In 2009, 50 boats were recorded to be actively using the Atoll from the communities of Sarteneja, Hopkins and Dangriga with an estimate total of 130 fishermen. Peak times for fishing were recorded as the opening of the Lobster and Conch season.

Tourism is becoming an increasingly important economic activity on Glover’s Reef Atoll, though with accessibility far harder than Lighthouse and Turneffe, much of the tourism is based on live aboards, or based from the five resorts currently operating from the cayes within the Atoll. Visitors also arrive from other resorts on the mainland and other cayes on a daily basis, such as Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort, from the mainland near Hopkins, and from hotels on Tobacco Caye. Sailboats from The Moorings charter yacht business based in Placencia visit the atoll for snorkeling and diving, and other private boats and yachts also visit the reserve, but on a relatively small scale.

Activities concentrate on scuba-diving, kayaking, wind surfing, sport fishing and fly fishing, with the impressive reef structures of the reef edge and the sheltered waters of the inner lagoon providing perfect conditions for these activities.

At peak occupancy, there are estimated to be approximately 120 guests on the Atoll in total, though the average occupancy is 50% of that. Residential staff number approximately 38 (these figures do not include Middle Caye, the location of the WCS research station and the Fisheries Department base). With the high costs of transport, the majority of the resorts operate on a weekly itinerary, offering all-in packages with a single arrival /departure day. Two of the companies – Slickrock and Island Expeditions – focus on kayak activities, based from camp facilities, whilst Isla Marisol and Off the Wall have a much greater investment in infrastructure. Most of the resorts close for one to two months of the year, or in some cases longer. Most are open, however, from October to April/May.

Whelks have been harvested at Glovers in the past under special license; however a moratorium has been put in place by Fisheries Department, pending further data on abundance and distributions of this species (Fisheries Department, 2005). Research was conducted in 2005 under the Department, showing that the whelks had a limited distribution, being confined to the reef crest, and that there were signs of over-harvesting, with densities being higher within the Conservation Zone, and greater numbers of individuals occurring in the larger size categories.

Activities Current human uses Possible development Description / comments, if any
Tourism unknown unknown Users: 2803. Seasonality: July – October is the slow season.
Fishing unknown unknown Users: 130.
Agriculture unknown unknown 0 User.
Industry unknown unknown
Forestry unknown unknown 0 User.
Others not specified not specified

e - Other relevant features

Nassau Grouper: closed season from December 1st to March 31st of the following year.

Size limit for this specie is between 20 – 30 inches during the open season. The spawning aggregation site for this specie is closed to fishing all year round.