Bonefish and Tarpon Trust highlights the continued challenges affecting Belize’s fishing flats
The pristine Caribbean waters around Ambergris Caye house a series of unique marine habitats supporting livelihoods in fisheries and tourism. One of these sectors, particularly in tourism, is the fly-fishing industry. The survival of this livelihood depends on healthy and intact habitats for marine life such as tarpon, bonefish, and permit, which continue to be threatened by coastal development. A recent short film titled ‘Paradise Under Threat’ by the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (BTT) highlights some of the challenges to conservation and the best approaches authorities can engage in to save these natural habitats.
The recent observation presented in the short documentary by BTT is produced by Silverline Films and sponsored by Blue Bonefish Lodge. The film indicates that communities will be unable to tackle conservation goals and sustain their economies and livelihoods if the loss of coastal habitats continues via proposed tourism projects such as Cayo Rosario and even Blackadore Caye. The proposed development on the ten-acre mangrove island of Cayo Rosario sits within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and calls for over-the-water structures. Local environmentalists, biologists, tourism stakeholders, and fly-fishing guides say such structures threaten the fishing flats where this multi-million-dollar industry thrives. The areas around Cayo Rosario off Ambergris Caye’s northwestern coast are critical natural habitats for tarpon and permit. This group of concerned citizens continues appealing to the government for better conservation laws to save the fishing flats and thousands of livelihoods at the same time. The project at Cayo Rosario, promoted as ‘Six Senses Belize,’ is set to open in mid-2025.Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun