Since 2013, Belize has celebrated Reef Week every March. This event raises awareness of the importance of the Belize Barrier Reef and its significance on Belizean lives. 2021 marked the 8th annual event, complete with a unique San Pedro Reef Week calendar of fun festivities. While some of the events were virtual this year due to the pandemic, there were several in-person activities, including a swim to the reef challenge, a snorkel and free diving clean-up, and a beach clean-up.
Reef Week San Pedro
Victoria House was a proud participant in this year’s Reef Week San Pedro. We joined in on the final day’s beach and sea cleanup to pick up rubbish fished out of the sea and debris that washed up along the shoreline. Some volunteers raked the sea floors and beaches one last time to get any other trash left behind.
This year’s special Reef Week San Pedro calendar of events kicked off with the swim to the reef challenge, followed by various educational events streamed on Facebook, and an in-person trivia night at Truck Stop.
During the freediving and snorkeling clean-up, volunteers collected a significant amount of debris from the sea. Most of the items retrieved included plastic, glassware, and even a gillnet. Organizers believe much of the glass and plastic debris was likely thrown overboard from passing boats. They want to remind everyone to do their part by ensuring they properly dispose of waste and bottles as it is crucial for our reef’s continued health.
Stony Coral Disease
This year’s Reef Week also focused on educating locals and tourists alike on one of the most frustrating challenges facing the Belize Barrier Reef System — Stony Coral Disease. The official name is Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, which primarily damages stony coral species. It’s ravaging large areas of corals in various regions, including Florida. Stony Coral Disease has been spotted in the most northern part of Ambergris Caye, and scientists closely monitor the area.
About Reef Week Belize
The Belize Barrier Reef is under threat from various elements, which is why it’s even more important to educate everyone on the importance of protecting our vital natural wonder. Reef Week has helped increase community outreach and education, both domestically and internationally. By developing fun projects and festivities for local students, kids can grow up to learn more about the reef and the constant need to protect it.
We are proud to be a supporter of and participant in Reef Week Belize. We appreciate all the hard work that went into Reef Week San Pedro and thank islander Carina Paz for all her creativity and dedication in making this year’s local events possible. If you are interested in joining any Reef Week Belize festivities next year, be sure to follow Reef Week San Pedro on Facebook to get the latest information and next year’s event dates.
Wondering how you can do your part as a traveler to help protect the Belize Barrier Reef? Remember to always wear reef-safe sunscreen, don’t litter, and never purchase or consume lobster or conch out of season. Thanks again to Victoria House staff who participated in the beach clean-up event.
We look forward to next year’s Reef Week Belize.
Curious about the latest travel restrictions to Belize? Be sure to check out the latest travel restrictions and updates on our COVID-19 safety policies page, our regularly updated reopening blog post, as well as the Government of Belize website for the latest information.