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BTT Opposes Proposed Development of Turneffe Atoll

Photo: Turneffe Flats

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust strongly opposes the proposed development near the southern end of Belize’s Turneffe Atoll. The over-the-water development would damage “Big Flat”—Turneffe’s largest backreef flat—and impact the country’s economically and culturally important flats fishery, which generates more than $110 million Belize dollars annually. The backreef is a critical part of the atoll’s reef structure and supports numerous species, including the bonefish, permit and tarpon for which Turneffe Atoll is famous.

The Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve is Belize’s largest and most diverse marine reserve, yet threats to Turneffe Atoll and other protected areas throughout Belize persist. These threats include destruction and degradation of critically important habitats by dredging, clear-cutting of mangroves, and unwise development. Over-the-water structures are particularly harmful because they disrupt habitat continuity, causing habitat fragmentation and decreasing habitat quality for flats species like bonefish and permit. Sadly, the proposed development at Turneffe is merely another assault on the flats fishery of Belize, and follows similar over-the-water structure development proposals on the flats at Cayo Rosario and Blackadore Caye.