Mesoamerican Reef Voluntary Standards
In conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB), among others, CORAL was the lead organization working to implement a sustainable marine tourism voluntary standards project. The goal was to identify good environmental practices for marine recreation and create a voluntary set of standards by which marine operators would abide. Stakeholders in the marine recreation industry in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras collaborated with CORAL and its partners to create the first document of this kind.
In areas of high-volume tourism, repeated direct contact with the reef poses an immediate threat. Hundreds of boat groundings and hundreds of thousands of tourist interactions each year reduce sections of coral reef to rubble. Human contact also reduces coral’s ability to cope with stressors such as rising sea temperatures and diseases.
CORAL's Voluntary Standards for Marine Recreation in the Mesoamerican Reef System provides detailed requirements for environmentally friendly and safety-conscious marine tourism businesses in the areas of diving, snorkeling, and boating.
The standards were crafted to be flexible and can be used by a variety of groups, including:
- Concerned tourists: to help them choose sustainable and safe marine excursions
- Marine tourism businesses: to evaluate and improve their own practices
- Non-governmental organizations and governments: as a basis for creating their own standards
- Bulk purchasers like cruise ships: to select sustainable and safe business partners
Download: Voluntary Standards for Marine Recreation in the Mesoamerican Reef System (PDF 2 MB)
Descarga : Estandares Voluntarios para la Recreacion Marina Sustentable en Mesoamerica (PDF 1.5 MB)
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CORAL presented a paper about the voluntary standards development process at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium in July of 2008.