Belize offers almost perfect habitat for bonefish, permit and tarpon, and ideal opportunities to pursue them with flies. Unfortunately, some shortsighted developers don’t care about the flats and the health of the marine environment. They have already destroyed critical habitats, and more abusive projects are being planned:
- The proposed South Beach mega-resort on Ambergris Caye would destroy roughly 500 acres of mangroves near Hol Chan Marine Reserve – essential habitat for the many bonefish that live and breed in the area.
- In southern Belize, a proposed development on Big and Little Channel Cayes in the Southwater Marine Reserve, a World Heritage Site, would destroy mangrove, coral and sea grass beds – the perfect permit habitat that gives this area its reputation as the “Permit Capital of the World.”
- Prime tarpon habitat has already been destroyed by dredging and construction of a development on Rendezvous Caye off the Placencia coast.
Fortunately, people who live in Belize are organizing to protect these fish and the habitat they need. Fishing guides, small hotel operators, and citizens are coming together to challenge environmental abuses and work toward a sustainable model of development that protects Belize’s unique marine habitats. The Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development (ACCSD) in San Pedro and the Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable Development (PCSD) on Placencia are young organizations that want to chart a sustainable future that protects the fish.
ACCSD and PCSD have teamed up with ELAW to ensure that the lessons learned through these efforts to protect fish habitat in Belize can be shared around the world through the ELAW network.
We have joined to form the Grand Slam Alliance, which will strive to:
1. Stop the destruction of flats, mangroves, corals, and seagrass beds that are critical for fish;
2. Assist with crafting master plans for coastal and island development that will protect valuable habitat;
3. Work to strengthen and enforce laws and regulations aimed at protecting sportfish and their habitat;
4. Educate communities about the importance of protecting habitat that is critical to the long-term survival of healthy fish populations; and
5. Help communities speak out to protect fish and critical habitat.
To learn more about the Grand Slam Alliance, visit our website: www.grandslamalliance.org