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South Water Caye Marine Reserve (SWCMR) is the largest Marine Reserve in Belize covering an area of 117,878 acres. It is located approximately 15 miles southeast of Dangriga town.

The Government of Belize included South Water Caye Marine Reserve as an important part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage Site, established in 1996 for its "outstanding universal value", and is obligated under this international convention to conserve and protect the area.

South Water Caye Marine Reserve along with Gladden Spit Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, Laughing Bird Caye Marine Reserve and Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, comprise the Southern Barrier Reef Complex, probably one of the areas with the highest biodiversity in the MAR region.

The reserve includes a mosaic of coastal and marine habitats including rare littoral forests, mangroves, seagrass beds, and a diversity of coral reef types. The reserve has been zoned to accommodate different types of visitor usage:

Click for more details on the activities allowed in each zone.

Highlights Of SWCMR

SWCMR Management

SWCMR is managed directly by the Fisheries Department and with assistance from the Public/Private SWCMR advisory committee. The Belize Fisheries Department employs 5 staff at SWCMR. These include a manager, biologist, 2 rangers and a caretaker who are based at the Twin Cayes ranger station. The staff is responsible for enforcing the fisheries regulations, carrying out patrols, surveillance, research, monitoring, education, outreach, collection of visitor fees and overall management.

The advisory committee is comprised of fishermen, fishing co–ops,community members, NGO's tour operators, private land owners and other government agencies.