On the 1st March 2017, the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA) opened two new buildings on the atoll to increase the effectiveness of their enforcement and education activities.
The Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, which is co-managed by TASA along with the Government of Belize, was established by law in 2012 and is both the largest marine reserve in Belize, and the largest atoll in the northern-hemisphere. The area is of crucial importance for local and commercial fishing, as well as lobster and conch diving.
TASA’s main station, which houses five permanent rangers is housed on Calabash Caye, while its secondary outpost which houses four rangers is on Mauger Caye to the north of the atoll.
Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade, and Jose Alpuche, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment, Sustainable Development, and Immigration did the official ribbon cutting and were joined by many others with a keen interest in seeing the marine reserve succeed.
The new buildings were funded by the Bertarelli Foundation, as part of our ongoing commitment to help Turneffe Atoll recover from decades of misuse and over-fishing.
Valdemar Andradi, TASA’s Executive Director, explained why the new conservation posts will help their work:
Our role is to monitor Turneffe Atoll to ensure that those using the area comply with fisheries regulations and sustainable management of the area’s resources.
Our new presence on two sites will allow for more daily patrols when rangers will be able to monitor for illegal fishing, unlicensed development, as well as to ensure compliance with development permits.
Mauger Caye rangers will patrol from the north to the central atoll, and Calabash Caye rangers will patrol from central to south.