Honorable Rene Montero
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries
P.O. Box 146
Belize City, Belize
Honorable Minister Montero:
We, the undersigned, wish to formally express our complete and total support for the creation of a Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve. By taking this historic step, the Government of Belize will not only secure benefits for all future generations of Belizeans, but it will also make a major contribution in the global effort to conserve the marine environment.
As the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Western Hemisphere, Turneffe Atoll encompasses all aspects of an intact coastal marine ecosystem; including deep ocean, fringe reef, patch reef, back-reef flats, extensive sea grass beds, extensive mangrove stands, creeks, littoral forest and two large lagoon systems. It is home to populations of several threatened species including Antillean manatees, Hawksbill turtles, goliath groupers, Nassau grouper and American crocodiles. Six spawning aggregation sites are known at Turneffe. With this rich diversity of coastal marine habitats, Turneffe is also an ideal location to conduct critical coastal marine research.
Additionally, the health of Turneffe Atoll is vital to the Belizean economy. A traditional fishing ground since the Mayan era, Turneffe is one of Belize’s largest producers of spiny lobster, conch and finfish. It is an increasingly popular tourism destination and the diving, fly fishing, and eco-tourism opportunities are world-renowned. These commercial activities provide significant employment for Belizeans and sustainable management of these resources is essential to ensuring a continuous source of stable jobs.
By all measures Turneffe Atoll is an irreplaceable asset to the cultural heritage of Belize. By taking this huge step forward, Belize will further solidify its position as a global leader in environmental stewardship and forward thinking. We urge you to make this landmark achievement a reality by designating a Marine Reserve at Turneffe Atoll.
(A complete list of endorsers to be added here)