The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is spreading the word about a potential development project in Belize that will be built on Turneffe Atoll’s largest flat. Turneffe is world renowned for its flats fishing, especially for those targeting permit. The Deadman Caye Resort Group is looking to build overwater structures on some of the small residential islands. According to BTT, this project is one of several proposed in the region.
BTT, along with the local and international flatfishing community, has called on the government of Belize to reject the proposed development. In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Belize, Juan Antonio Briceno, BTT states:
“In addition to its environmental importance, the Turneffe Atoll flats fishery is an important economic driver for the country, contributing more than BZ$112 million to the Belizean economy each year and supporting 2,100 individual jobs in the country, including guides Belizeans…We strongly oppose this project because of the irreversible environmental damage to water quality and habitats it would cause.”
BTT is asking for help to oppose this project. Here is a public comment form.
“In your comments/message please note:
- How special and unique are the Turneffe backpackers, that there are few of them in the world and that people travel from all over the world to enjoy them.
- Due to Belize’s Catch and Release law, flats fishing in Belize is completely sustainable – unless essential habitats are destroyed through inappropriate development.
- The seabed is owned by the people and government of Belize and should be used for the benefit of all Belizeans and the Belizean economy and not for the advantage of a developer.
- Above-water structures are particularly harmful because they disrupt habitat continuity, causing habitat fragmentation and reduced habitat quality for flatfish species such as bony fish and perch.
- The Big Flat, and others like it, provide significant economic value to Belize, including jobs, foreign exchange and a significant portion of the country’s GDP.”
This is a stark reminder of how vulnerable some of the most popular fisheries are to new development and degradation.
Cover picture: BTT, Tunich-Nah Consultants & Engineering
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