Lack of fisheries enforcement was a key missing piece in safeguarding Turneffe's commercial fishery. Thanks to a joint agreement between Turneffe Atoll Trust, the Belize Department of Fisheries and Belize Coast Guard, fisheries enforcement was initiated at Turneffe Atoll. Coast Guard contributed a boat (pictured) and Turneffe Flats Resort contributed a new Suzuki outboard engine.
Patrols were designed to uphold existing Belizean fisheries law, and ensure all fishing activities were conducted in a legal manner. Violators were prosecuted for fishing in aggregation sites during the spawning periods, poaching lobster out of season, gill-netting, collecting juvenile conch, harvesting protected fin fish, or for not releasing all bonefish, permit and tarpon.
With the opening of the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, enforcement duties have now been transitionsed to the reserves co-manager, the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA). Eventually, three patrol boats will patrol Turneffe from Ranger Stations located on the Atoll.