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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Turneffe Atoll now under govt designated protected status according to the Govt Minister

Its just a matter of having all the ducks lined up, and today they were finally all got in a row. I have been told that about 30 years ago it was recognized that Turneffe Atoll needed to be declared a marine reserve and today our Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow and his cabinet took the gigantic leap and endorsed my ministry's recommendations.

How lucky can one be to be able to sign the statutory instrument that is making the dreams of so many a reality.

A big thank you to the fisherfolks from Chunox, Copper Bank and Sarteneja who are the primary users of this area, after their fears and concerns were addressed they committed their support.

By Lisel Alamilla

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve Declared in Belize

The Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve was enacted on Tuesday (9/25/12) by the Hon. Lisel Alamilla, Belize's Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development. The act will manage and protect the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Caribbean announced Craig Hayes, Board Chairman of Turneffe Atoll Trust and owner/operator of Turneffe Flats Resort.

"This 325,000 acre Marine Reserve, the largest in Belize, will benefit Turneffe's commercial fishermen, its tourism sector, the atoll's environment and all Belizeans. It has been established through the hard work and dedication of several individuals and organizations including the Turneffe Atoll Trust, the Fisheries Department, Turneffe's fishermen and several non-governmental agencies," he said.

Establishing Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve makes it possible to sustainably manage the unique environmental, economic and social aspects of the area located some 30 miles off the country's mainland.

Enactment of the new law will allow:

  • Improved enforcement and sustainable management of Turneffe's commercial fishery;
  • Improved control and monitoring of future development;
  • Sustainable management of the atoll's environmental, economic and social benefits for Belize;
  • Scientific research and environmental monitoring for the atoll; and
  • Support for catch and release sport fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and other sustainable tourism.

TAT's mission is to drive conservation and other efforts leading to a healthy ecosystem at Turneffe Atoll supporting sustainable social and economic benefits for Belize and serving as a model for similar coastal marine environments throughout the world.


Joined: Oct 1999
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Photo of Turneffe Atoll taken during Lighthawk flyover with ACES.

Cabinet endorses decision to make Turneffe Atoll a Marine Reserve

The Prime Minister of Belize Hon Dean Barrow and his Cabinet have endorsed the recommendation to have Turneffe Atoll declared a marine reserve. The announcement was made by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development Hon. Lisel Alamilla via her social network page. The endorsement was made during the Cabinet meeting of Tuesday September 25th.

While the decision has been endorsed by Cabinet, Turneffe Atoll will only become a marine reserve after the Statutory Instrument (SI) is signed and taken to the House of Representatives for approval. The proposed Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve is approximately 325,000 acres in size. The decision is monumental and will see a legislation establishing the Turneffe Atoll as Belize's largest marine reserve which seeks to bring improved protection and much needed management to the atoll and its marine life. Speaking to The San Pedro Sun, Allamilla said that so far, Cabinet has only endorsed the decision but hopes that very soon the SI will be signed to declare the mentioned area a marine reserve. Alamilla also said that she hopes the signing of the SI will be done in a grand ceremony. While Alamilla would decline to speak in detail about the decision, she writes on her Facebook account that it took about 30 years to recognize that Turneffe Atoll needed to be declared a marine reserve and that it was finally agreed and it took the PM and his cabinet colleagues to take the "gigantic leap" and endorse the ministry's recommendations.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun

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