Glover's Reef Marine Reserve

Glover’s Reef Seascape lies at the heart of the Mesoamerican reef, the largest coral reef system in the Western hemisphere. An astounding 800 coral patch reefs dot its waters, supporting extraordinarily high biological diversity across 135 square miles. Just 28 miles off the coast of Belize, Glover’s Reef is critical nursery and feeding ground for sea turtles, sharks and rays, and numerous fish species that gather in massive numbers. Glover’s supports one of the Caribbean’s largest and last remaining Nassau grouper spawning aggregations, a spectacular biological phenomenon that is becoming increasingly rare. It is one of the only true atolls—strings of coral islands and reefs surrounding a pristine lagoon—in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Glover’s Reef Seascape is crucial to the Belize economy. Its nursery ground for commercially important fisheries is a living bank for more than a hundred licensed fishermen. It is a centerpiece of ecotourism within the greater Belize Barrier Reef—Belize’s premier tourism destination and a World Heritage Site. Its rich cultural and archaeological history is evident in pre-Classic Maya settlements.

The Government of Belize recognized this value when it established the Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve in 1993, which includes one of the country’s largest no-fishing zones. However, like coral reef systems around the world, Glover’s remains under threat from overfishing, pollution, unregulated tourism and climate change – threats that destroy corals, deplete fish stocks, and weaken ecological links across the seascape.

For more than 20 years, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has partnered with the Government of Belize to pioneer innovative approaches to conserving Glover’s. Effective field science, policy reform, and capacity building are leading us closer to our 10-year vision: massive colonies of brain, starlet, elkhorn, finger and other corals hosting hundreds of species of fish, marine turtles, and top predators such as sharks and groupers, thriving within a productive and resilient seascape that is sustained by effective management and supported by local people who are well-informed and actively engaged in sustainable management of Glover’s Reef.

With WCS's experience, scientific knowledge, and commitment, together we can ensure that this seascape remains forever wild.