The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has started surveying the seabed of the southern waters of Belize as part of the UK Government’s Commonwealth Marine Economies (CME) Programme.
Almost all activity in our oceans, from shipping to monitoring delicate marine environments, depends on accurate seabed mapping data that illustrates the shape and movement of natural underwater features. For coastal nations like Belize, the collection of this data is vital to supporting sustainable economic growth and protecting communities from the effects of climate change.
Following a stakeholder meeting with the Belize Port Authority and wider Belizean government in late 2019, it was agreed that the country’s southern waters would be surveyed using Satellite Derived Bathymetry (SDB). SDB uses satellites to capture high resolution imagery which can then be processed to calculate seabed depths down to 40 metres, depending on the clarity of the water. This method captures large areas quickly and has no negative impact on ecosystems and marine life. Data collection and processing is expected to take several weeks and will focus on areas south of Belize City.
Information from the survey will be used to update nautical charts of the region where necessary, reducing navigational risk and improving safety of life at sea. The SDB-generated information can also be used to plan and prioritise more detailed surveys of Belizean waters to support government requirements.
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