Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve
In the 1970’s, Glover’s Reef Atoll was identified by a team of renowned coral reef scientists as the best site in the Caribbean to carry out “long-term, multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional investigation of coral reef ecosystems.” In 1993, with the support of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and others, the Atoll was designated as the Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve (GRMR) by the Government of Belize.
The GRMR was established to: Maintain ecological processes, preserve genetic diversity, achieve sustainable yields through informed management of species and their habitats, maintain natural areas for education and research, and provide social and economic benefits through ecologically sensitive tourism and recreation
In 1996, the Reserve was also designated by the United Nation’s Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as one of seven Marine Protected Areas forming the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage Site.
Glover’s Reef Research Station
Mission of GRRS
To promote the long-term conservation and management of the Belize Barrier Reef through in-situ research, cooperative management, training, and education.
To accomplish its mission, GRRS promotes and supports research that seeks to address critical scientific issues related to conservation and management of marine areas, especially those related to coral reef systems and marine protected areas. Research has focused on investigating the trends and status of important species within the atoll, evaluating the effectiveness of marine reserves as a conservation strategy and the importance of the atoll for a variety of different marine species. To learn more about the research projects see Research.
A vital component of WCS’s involvement in Belize is its strong ties with the Government of Belize and as such, Middle Caye is also home to the Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve staff of the Fisheries Department. The ranger station provides a base of operations for the Fisheries Department to manage Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve in the interests of the atoll as a whole and all its stakeholders. The ranger station contains an office and residence for the reserve manager, reserve biologist and two reserve rangers. The land where the ranger station is located is leased by the Belize Fisheries Department from WCS under the terms of a Memorandum of Agreement.
Apart from generating scientific data, the station is a platform for WCS and its partners to provide training in various research and monitoring techniques, marine ecology and marine protected area management to government officials and local or foreign students.