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Seismic testing plans suspended in Belize

In October 17, the Government of Belize announced plans for the start of oil offshore exploration across a vast stretch of its Caribbean Sea waters. WWF together with other conservation partners warned that seismic testing for subsea oil deposits, which was set to begin on the 20th has dangers for marine life that have not been assessed.  The testing was set to occur just over one kilometre away of the fragile Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage site, which has been listed as in danger by UNESCO. An oil spill anywhere within Belize’s waters could be catastrophic for residents whose livelihoods depend on healthy marine and coastal ecosystems. It could threaten neighbouring areas of the broader Mesoamerican Reef System.  Fortunately, the longest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere received a reprieve from seismic surveying.  The Government in Belize agreed to suspend the seismic portion of offshore oil exploration after an outcry from concerned citizens, national civil society groups and international conservation organizations, including WWF.