Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve

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Chapter 3. SITE DESCRIPTION

f - Impacts and threats affecting the area

Impacts and threats within the area


Impact and threats level Evolution In the short term Evolution In the long term Species affected Habitats affected Description / comments
Exploitation of natural ressources: Fishing very important increase increase - Epinephelus striatus (Nassau Grouper) - Apsilus dentatus (Black Snapper) - Lobster - Strombus gigas (Queen Conch) - Spear Fish - Fin Fish - Barracuda - Blackfin snapper - Yellow eye - Yellowtail - Black Grouper - Deep-water Grouper - Jack - Mutton Snapper - Reef shelf - Atoll Reef shelf at the Nassau Grouper Spawning Aggregation site which is closed to fishing all year round. Threats to Glover’s Reef Atoll, whilst far from the mainland, is an important resource for a number of the coastal communities – primarily Sarteneja, Hopkins and Dangriga, with an estimated maximum of 170 or more fishermen using the area (using the maximum number of fishermen per boat, Glover’s Reef Annual Report, 2006). Whilst the presence of prime commercial species such as grouper and snapper indicate that marine resources are relatively healthy by regional standards, the pressure on marine stocks is increasing, with an increasing number of fishermen, and incursions from neighboring countries. Overfishing of commercial marine species has resulted in reduced catch per unit effort and a shift in the community and population structures of both fish and invertebrates harvested. Overfishing was identified as occurring throughout the General Use Zone, and illegal fishing activities were recorded from the Conservation Zone and the Seasonal Closure Zone. Lobster fishing out of season was also reported habitats and species. Whilst the majority of extractors are artisanal fisherman, free diving primarily for lobster and conch, and spear fishing fin-fish, the impact on the commercial marine species of the atoll has been immense, with the majority of fishermen and tour guides reporting reduced numbers of lobster and conch and commercial species (Consultations, 2007). Both the inside and outside of the western side of the atoll, is fished year-round, and several species are targeted (barracuda, blackfin snapper and yellow eye being the most fished species).
Exploitation of natural ressources: Agriculture limited not specified not specified Not commented
Exploitation of natural ressources: Tourism limited not specified not specified Not commented
Exploitation of natural ressources: Industry limited not specified not specified Not commented
Exploitation of natural ressources: Forest products limited not specified not specified Not commented
Increased population limited not specified not specified Not commented
Invasive alien species very important increase increase Pterois volitans (Lionfish) Area Lionfish poses a serious threat to the area.
Pollution limited not specified not specified Not commented
Other significant unknown unknown Strombus gigas - Sand Flats - sea grass beds Sand Flats and sea grass beds that are Conch Habitat.

Impacts and threats around the area


Impact and threats Level Evolution In the short term Evolution In the long term Species affected Habitats affected Description / comments
Exploitation of natural ressources: Fishing limited increase increase - Barracuda - Blackfin snapper - Yellow eye Outside atoll Both the inside and outside of the western side of the atoll, is fished year-round, and several species are targeted (barracuda, blackfin snapper and yellow eye being the most fished species)
Exploitation of natural ressources: Agriculture limited not specified not specified Not commented
Exploitation of natural ressources: Tourism limited not specified not specified Not commented
Exploitation of natural ressources: Industry limited not specified not specified Not commented
Exploitation of natural ressources: Forest products limited not specified not specified Not commented
Increased population limited not specified not specified Not commented
Invasive alien species very important increase increase Pterois volitans (Lionfish) Lionfish poses a serious threat to the area.
Pollution significant increase increase - Marine wildlife Solid waste originating from the cayes and mainland is another concern. Some types of garbage have been shown to be very detrimental to marine wildlife, such as plastics to sea turtles. There is also concern over the increasing levels of solid waste originating from international shipping, particularly with the increase in cruise shipping and freight shipping destined for, and departing from, Belize. Liquid Waste & Sewage: A more insidious impact is the leaching of nutrients and chemicals into the ground water or fresh water lens of the cayes, which then percolate through the sandy soil into the sea. Groundwater is an important source of freshwater on the cayes, and is also important for supplying the mangrove areas and coral reefs with fresh water. If the groundwater becomes polluted, these ecosystems are affected. The leakage of sewage from island resorts can cause algal blooms, visible as a ring around the cayes or patches of increased algal growth near the highest impacted areas, due to nutrient enrichment. This impact, however, is relatively low due to the current small scale of operations and low level of visitation, as well as the use of closed sewage systems on a couple of the islands. At present, although there is little sign of the impacts of water contamination by excessive nutrients, and the majority of developments on the cayes appear to include adequate sewage treatment, results of recent nutrient testing (Gibson and Hoare, 2005) when compared with previous results (Tomasko and LaPointe 1991), suggest that nutrient runoff from the cayes should be carefully monitored.
Other limited not specified not specified Not commented