The Turneffe Atoll was recently designated a Marine Protected Area – after years of work to get it done. But declaring it is one thing, properly protecting it is quite another. And that’s where two international conservation groups come in; they are the Blue Marine Foundation and Fauna & Flora International. They will help set up the protected area – and on Wednesday they launched that joint effort at a reception. Alamilla Explained the importance of it:

Hon. Lisel Alamilla - Minister of Fisheries
"Well we would have declared that area as a Marine Protected Area even without having identified the funding because it's important for Belize to protect that area because of its Bio-diversity and of it's importance to the livelihood of fisher folks. But having some money to move this forward is very helpful."

Dr Robert Bensted-Smith - FFI's Regional Director for the Americas & Caribbean
"This area in particular is one where there is great possibility to combine benefits for diversity conservation with the benefits of the economy and development of the country and especially the livelihood of ordinary people."

Turneffe Atoll had been the largest unprotected section of Belize’s Barrier Reef.

Channel 7