The Belize barrier reef complex is the largest continuous reef system in the western North Atlantic-Caribbean Province extending a distance of 250 km south from the northern end of Ambergris Caye. In 1987, the Government of Belize established the Hol Chan Marine Reserve off Ambergris Caye in an effort to conserve a small but complete portion of this reef ecosystem including the coral reef, lagoon, and mangrove habitats.