Belize’s Meso-American Reef is the world’s second longest barrier reef and one of the ocean’s most resource-rich ecological treasures. But it’s also among its most threatened. Though there’s still time – saving the reef from the effects of unplanned development, uncontrolled tourism, over-fishing and climate change is no small task.
This month, CAVU was awarded a two-year grant from the prestigious Oak Foundation to conduct a multi-faceted educational outreach campaign that will help create awareness of reef research and policy needs among legislators, managers and users – from tourism operators to local fishermen who depend on this resource.
It’s an enormous undertaking – and one CAVU couldn’t be more excited to tackle. The cornerstone of the outreach campaign, which will extend over two years, will be a 26-minute DVD outlining the need to provide clear, binding coastal development policies and regulations that will protect the Belize reef and its resources for generations to come. This educational tool, which will incorporate outstanding cinematography, educational messages and CAVU’s trademark “voices of the people,” will be used as a reference guide for enacting policies, and broadening awareness about the health of the reef.
In addition, CAVU has been tasked with creating a comprehensive aerial photography database of protected areas and critical marine habitats, an urgent baseline that will allow scientists, policy makers and enforcement agencies to track changes to these precious natural areas.
The project will officially launch in early December, when CAVU will meet with stakeholders ranging from the Belize Coastal Management Authority and Insitute, Conservation International, the Smithsonian Institute, and Belize Audubon, among others.