Belize Suspends Seismic Oil Exploration After Public Outcry
"The largest barrier reef above the northern hemisphere has received an extended reprieve from seismic surveying. Officials in Belize agree to suspend seismic exploration of offshore oil after an outcry from concerned citizens, national civil society establishments and international conservation organizations—including Good Life Bracelets' partners—and their supporters. The government of Belize on Thursday instructed surveyors to “cease and desist seismic operations immediately.”
Belize is home to one of the largest barrier reefs in the world, flourishing with vibrant color and life. When the government of Belize decided it would conduct seismic surveying to find additional pockets of oil, it impacted the local reefs beyond our imagination.
Seismic testing, a process used to explore for oil, includes the use of air guns to blast powerful shockwaves through the water that are destructive enough to penetrate several layers of seafloor. For dolphins, it can cause deafness, greatly disturb communications, and disrupt migration patterns. Surveys have shown the process also negatively impacts catch rates for local fisherman, too.
A coalition of Belizean and international organizations has spoken out about the risks that oil exploitation poses to the local economy, and has called on the Belizean government “to ban offshore oil from any of Belize’s offshore waters in the interest of promoting a sound environment and sustainable economy."
Good Life Bracelets stands with civil society in Belize and invites the government to work with the coalition to find a more ecologically sound path to sustainable economic development, such as tourism.
For now, our marine life and coral reefs are safe in Belize. However, this is just a suspension. We need to tell Belize to end all seismic testing immediately and indefinitely.