Turneffe Flats has long been recognized as one of Belize’s premier saltwater fly fishing, SCUBA diving and marine eco-tourism destinations. Located on the incredibly beautiful Turneffe Atoll, Turneffe Flats provides visitors access to the most biologically diverse atoll in the Caribbean.
Green Globe first certified Turneffe Flats for its sustainable operations in 2013 and again this year the eco-tourism resort has proven its environmental credentials with a notable compliance score of 89%.
Turneffe Atoll – home to this remarkable eco-tourism resort – provides pristine habitat for 260 fish species, 77 plant species and 5 spawning aggregation sites. The marine eco-system is a combination of healthy coral reef, both fringing reef and patch corals, expansive backreef flats, large lagoon systems, seagrass beds, and extensive mangrove forest. Turneffe Atoll is of significant economic and sociological importance to Belize as a major commercial fishery and ecotourism center, while also providing Belize City and the mainland coast with essential protection from hurricanes.
For the past three decades, Turneffe Flats has actively supported the sustainable environmental, economic and social use of Turneffe Atoll through a variety of efforts. The eco-tourism resort has worked to be a model off-the-grid green enterprise and has developed many innovative ways to combine top-notch service with minimal environmental effects.
Approximately 17 years ago, Turneffe Flats wanted to make a more formal commitment to conservation efforts so became a charter member of 1% For The Planet. Wanting to concentrate conservation efforts locally, the resort then formed an NGO named Turneffe Atoll Trust to focus efforts on the surrounding reef environment.
Since then the Turneffe Atoll Trust has worked with government in Belize to deliver legislation instituting landmark protection for important game fish – bonefish, permit and tarpon. Belize’s “Catch and Release Law”, as it is known, has now been emulated in several countries.
In 2012, the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve was established offering a new level of environmental protection for Turneffe. Turneffe Atoll Trust drove this process, which included more than 10,000 hours of consultation with stakeholders – mostly commercial fishermen. The consultative process, and the Management Plan for the new reserve, were together funded by Turneffe Atoll Trust and substantial donations from Turneffe Flats.