Fish of The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

The Barrier Reef of Belize

Located off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean Sea, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is home to many ecologically and economically important marine species. Lobster and conch are the current principal fisheries products, and contribute most of the total value of exported seafood, estimated at over US$30 million in 2005. There is also a domestic fishery for shallow reef fish and a commercial fishery for groupers and snappers.

However, the main use of the Belize Barrier Reef is now tourism, which is the country's largest source of foreign exchange generating an estimated US$198 million in 2006 or nearly 18% of GDP. The Belize Barrier Reef has long been regarded by many divers as the ultimate diving destination with hundreds of divers visiting the reef each year to experience its wonders.

Home to more species than any other marine ecosystem the barrier reefs are second only to the lush tropical rain forests on the biodiversity scale. Although reef diversity is much lower in the Caribbean than in the Indo-Pacific, Belize has a particularly high species diversity, with about 65 coral species and over 300 fish species, compared with just over 70 coral species and about 520 fish species in the Caribbean as a whole.

Below are photos of some of the fish seen on the Belize Barrier Reef.

Yellow Goat

Atlantic Spadefish

Banded Butterfly

Black Hamlet

Black Jack

Blue Tang

Reef Shark

Dusky Shark

Flying Gurnard

French Angle

Garibaldi

Gray Angle

Graysby

Great Barracuda

Green Moray

King Angle

Rock Lobster

Manta Ray

Nassau Grouper

Nurse Shark

Octopus

Porcupine Puffer

Princess Parrot Fish

Purple Mouth Moray

Queen Angel

Queen Trigger

Red Hind

Rock Beauty Angle

Sargent Major

Scrawled File Fish

Sharp Nose Puffer

Soldier Fish

Spanish Hog Fish

Spot Fin Butterfly

Spotted Moray

Stoplight Parrot Fish

Tiger Grouper

Trumpet Fish

Green Turtle

White Spotted Filefish