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Belize Barrier Reef facts for kids

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Belize Barrier Reef
Satellite image of Belize in March 31, 2002.jpg
The Barrier Reef is clearly visible along the eastern coast of Belize in the Caribbean Sea.
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Location Belize
Nearest city Belize City, Belize
Official name: Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System
Type: Natural
Criteria: vii, ix, x
Designated: 1996 (20th session)
Reference #: 764
State Party: Belize
Region: Latin America and the Caribbean
Endangered: 2009–2018

The Belize Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs. It goes along the coast of Belize, about 300 meters (980 ft) offshore in the north and 40 kilometers (25 mi) in the south. The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300 kilometers (190 mi) long section of the 900 kilometers (560 mi) long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. The reef system runs continuous from Cancún on the northeast tip of the Yucatán Peninsula through the Riviera Maya down to Honduras. This makes it one of the largest coral reef systems in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the New Caledonia Barrier Reef.

Charles Darwin described it as "the most remarkable reef in the West Indies" in 1842.


The Belize Barrier Reef is home to many different plants and animals. There are:

  • 70 hard coral species
  • 36 soft coral species
  • 500 species of fish
  • hundreds of invertebrate species

About 90% of the reef still needs to be researched. It is thought that only 10% of all species have been discovered.

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