Belize Barrier Reef petition

The Belize Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a large number of species calling it home. It is also a top draw for visitors to Belize – as well as the proposed site for significant oil exploration.


One current approach to find viable crude reservoirs uses oil-seeking sonar waves to pulse through the water. There is worry and increasing conjecture it can cause dolphins and other marine mammals such pain and distress that they become hurt or so disoriented that they beach themselves as they try to escape.

Right now, oil companies are using these sonar sounding waves as they prepare to drill in the middle of the Belize Barrier Reef – home to thousands of dolphins, sea turtles, and whale sharks.


Oceana is about to file a petition with the Belize government to put a national referendum to stop offshore drilling on the ballot. With about 335,000 people it has the the lowest population density in Central America. Tourism is a key source of earnings for the English-speaking monarchy, and to help raise the stakes they are seeking 10,000 people outside of Belize to say that they stand with Belizeans who oppose dangerous drilling. Click the link here to read the petition, and please consider signing before the 17th June when it will be presented.

“That’s why every signature we send is an unmistakable sign to the Belizean government that potential tourists are ready to take their dollars elsewhere if drilling is allowed to begin.”
– Audrey Matura-Sheperd (Vice President, Oceana Belize)

The petition intends to highlight the non-reversible decisions that are being made, and that the people should know that once they destroy their reef, there’s no going back. But right now protected areas of the reef are reputed to being sold quietly to oil companies. And the impacts are open-ended given the unsatisfactory history of the oil industry’s regard for their environmental impacts – if exploratory wells are allowed to move forward, the results could:

  • Lead to oil spills that would poison the reef and put endangered sea turtles and other animals at risk
  • Distress marine mammals like whales and dolphins, causing them to beach themselves and die
  • Release toxins into the feeding grounds of Whale Sharks
  • and more…

Oceana is the largest international organization working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, they have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 500,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe.