An aerial view of the proposed construction sites on Turneffe Atoll. Source: Tunich-Nah Consultants & Engineering
If you fish the flats of Belize or care about the contributions that the Belizean fishery makes to the Florida Keys, we need you to share your public comments as soon as possible. Public comment will be accepted only through December 8.
BTT first shared its concern in April over a proposed development at Belize’s Turneffe Atoll. The Deadman Caye Group Resort is seeking to build over-water structures that 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 in tourism and fishing industry jobs. 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.
This project, like others proposed recently, poses threats that include the 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.
This 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. BTT, along with the local and international flats fishing community, has called on the Government of Belize to reject the proposed development. READ OUR LETTER to the Prime Minister Juan Antonio Briceno, which is part of BTT’s larger outreach to government entities and fishery stakeholders. NOW WE NEED YOUR VOICE!
Please email a brief message expressing your opposition to this project to the following government officials individually. Some bullet points are suggested below. Please feel free to also describe your personal connection to Turneffe Atoll. Your letter doesn’t need to be long or cover every aspect; even a short note will be helpful.
In your email message please note:
- How special and unique the backreef flats at Turneffe are, that there are few like them in the world, and that people travel from around the world to enjoy them.
- Because of Belize’s Catch and Release law, the Belize flats fishery is totally sustainable—unless the 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 economy of Belize rather than the advantage of one developer.
- 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.
- Big Flat, and others like it, provide considerable economic value for Belize including jobs, foreign exchange and a significant portion of the country’s GDP.
Message Recipients’ Names and Email Addresses:
Anthony Mai, Chief Environmental Officer, Department of Environment
Hon. Orlando Habet, Minister of Environment
Kenrick Williams, CEO of the Ministry of Environment
Hon. Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister
Email: email@example.com and PrimeMinister@opm.gov.bz