January 24th, 2011 (Bozeman, Mont.)— Turneffe Atoll Trust’s (TAT) new Business Supporter program is an opportunity for companies to help TAT establish a Marine Reserve at Turneffe Atoll. All contributions will be used for TAT’s Campaign for Protected Status for Turneffe Atoll.
“The present social and political climate in Belize offers a very promising window of opportunity. For the first time, all relevant stakeholder groups are at the table and have expressed interest in facilitating a Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve. Equally as important, permitting agencies in Belize have unofficially indicated their support” said Craig Hayes, owner of Turneffe Flats Resort and founder of TAT.
As the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Western Hemisphere, Turneffe Atoll is the heart of the Mesoamerican Reef and a natural wonder of the marine world. Approximately 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, Turneffe has pristine examples of all habitats found in a healthy coastal marine ecosystem. The atoll also supports large populations of bonefish, permit and tarpon making it one of only a few places in the world where anglers can accomplish the coveted Grand Slam of saltwater fly fishing.
The atoll, however, remains quite vulnerable with several recent events pointing out the urgent need for action. For instance, dredging has recently devastated portions of Turneffe’s world-famous back-reef flats and several large stands of mangroves have been destroyed.
In October 2010, TAT created the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Council. The Council meets monthly in Belize City and the purpose was to create a fully participatory process for developing the Reserve.
Active participants are:
Belize Fishermen’s Cooperative Association (BFCA)
The Ministry of Tourism and all resorts
Environmental Research Institute/University of Belize
The Belize Coast Guard
The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI)
The Belize Department of Fisheries
Non-Government Organizations: The Nature Conservancy, Oceana, APAMO, Wildlife Conservation Society, Environmental Defense Fund and the Healthy Reefs Initiative
Businesses can choose from two levels of benefits:
Business Partner: Donations of $500 and above, annual membership includes a listing on the TAT web page, inclusion in our annual report and an official Business Supporter display sign (dimensions 12″ x 18″).
Grand Slam Supporter: Donations of $2,500 and above, 3-year membership includes all “Business Supporter” benefits, plus recognition in all e-newsletters and TAT events. Your company logo will be featured on our Business Supporters web page. Grand Slam Supporters also receive a signed, framed limited edition photo from Turneffe Atoll Trust (dimensions 18″ x 24″).
The campaign will continue until the Turneffe’s substantial ecological and economic resources are formally and protected.
Contributions can be made by credit card on-line or send checks to:
Turneffe Atoll Trust
P.O. Box 10670
Bozeman, MT 59719