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Flats habitats under threat in Belize

The Belize Flats Fishery Association (BFFA) stands firm with its local communities and international partners in their call for Belize to better protect flats habitats in Angelfish Caye known as Will Bauer Flats by residents of Dangriga, Hopkins and Placencia in southern Belize.

BFFA and its 60 members disapproves the Environmental Clearance and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The BFFA and scientific community considers the EIA to be deficient, inaccurate, and biased because the methodologies being used were inappropriate to assess the social, ecological, economic, and health impacts of the project.

Will Bauer Flats under threat by development of Angelfish Caye the only flats where bonefish and permit have been seen tailing together.

The project Angelfish Caye LLC Eco-Resort and Private Residential Development will take place in South Water Caye Marine Reserve, one of seven protected areas which forms part of the Belize Barrier Reef System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This project will completely destroy the flats habitats known as "shoal" or shallow areas associated with mangroves, seagrass and coral reef ecosystems when these areas are dredged to fill in the property. This entire area is very productive - as flats fishing guides have stated that these are the only flats where bonefish and permit tail together and the only flat where bonefish are constantly present.

Flats habitat in Angelfish Caye comprised of healthy corals and seagrass that support the flats fishery and artisanal fisheries

The concerns of residents and fishing guides from Placencia, who have spoken out about the the importance of this area since 2022, were ignored during the EIA process. Also, Placencia residents were not considered as users and were not consulted in 2023 during the assessment. To make matters worst, they were not even informed when the Environmental Clearance Plan was approved on December 8th of 2023. Users did not know the development was beginning until February 8th when barges were seen unloading dredging equipment at Angelfish Caye.

Right: Eworth Garbutt (Vice-president and acting President of BFFA), Dr. Addiel U. Perez (Fisheries Scientist at Bonefish & Tarpon Trust) and Damon Nasario (BFFA member & Flats Fishing Guide from Hopkins)

BFFA has embarked in an education and awareness campaign to inform Belize and the region about the importance of conservation for better livelihoods in:

  1. A petition on

  2. Sun Up on 7 as part of 7 News in Belize:

  3. Letter to the Minister Honorable Orlando Habet (Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management) and Dr. Kenrick Williams (Chairman of National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) & Chief Executive Officer Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management)

BFFA also thanks its international partners for support:

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