The Belize Port Authority and the United Kingdom Government’s Hydrographic Office (UKHO) are conducting an Airborne Bathymetric LiDAR (light detection and ranging) survey from December through January 2019 in Belize’s waters north of Belize City, through funding provided under the United Kingdom Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme. The programme is being delivered on behalf of the UK Government by the UKHO, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science and the National Oceanography Centre and aims to support the growth of Commonwealth Small Island Developing States through sustainable use of their natural economic and environmental resources. Stakeholder meetings were hosted by the Belize Port Authority Headquarters in conjunction with the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute in which government and non-government agencies were briefed on the details.
The data collected in the surveys will be used to chart areas which had not been surveyed before, as well as revise outdated and incomplete charts. This will assist Belize to meet its international maritime obligations. These updated charts will reduce navigational risk and improve the safety of ships, cargo and crew engaged in maritime trade and tourism. The data collected will also support a range of environmental and scientific applications, enabling Belize to better manage the marine environment in these areas through the sustainable management of fisheries and other marine resources, as well as supporting coastal protection and management. All data will be provided to the Government of Belize once the work has been completed and validated by specialist teams at the UKHO.