Supporting a Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve

Dear Diver,

Supporting a Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve
I am going to ask for a moment of your time regarding something that is incredibly important for the future of saltwater marine environments in the Caribbean.

We aren’t asking for any money, but we need your voice of support!  As a member of the diving community, you are no doubt concerned by the mounting threats against coastal ecosystems around the globe.  The future of diving depends on the integrity of places such as Turneffe Atoll, Belize - the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Western Hemisphere.  

Nearly a decade ago, Turneffe Atoll Trust was formed to help implement an environmental success story, one in which a globally significant ecosystem gained protection before an environmental crisis hit.  Turneffe Atoll is currently healthy and as of yet, does not need to be fixed. What it urgently needs, however, is protection and management so it doesn’t fall victim to further improper development, unsustainable commercial activities, and environmental degradation.

The great news is that this goal is within reach because the Government of Belize has recently indicated it is prepared to formally designate a new Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve.  An achievement of this magnitude bodes well not only for the future of Belize, but also for all who have a stake in marine conservation and saltwater fisheries throughout the Caribbean basin.  This is why I am asking you to help with a final push towards making this dream a reality.  

Send an email to paul@turneffeatoll.org with three (3) quick and simple pieces of information, and you will be added as an endorser to a letter asking the Belizean Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture for the creation of a Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve (see the letter below):

  1. Your name
  2. If applicable the name of your business/organization and your title
  3. Your City, State, and Country

If all goes as planned, our goal is to celebrate this victory by the end of January 2012.   Your support is key to making this happen, and we very much appreciate your time and your endorsement!

Best regards,        

Paul D. Robertson

Executive Director

 

The letter:

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.

Sincerely,

(A complete list of endorsers to be added here)

Again, thank you for sending an email to paul@turneffeatoll.org and voicing your support for a Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve.