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Oct 5, 2022

TASA Signs Grant Agreement with Turneffe Flats for $1.5 Million Dollars

This afternoon at its new headquarters in Bella Vista, the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association, TASA, signed a grant agreement for one and a half million dollars for the management of the Turneffe Atoll.  The Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve was established ten years ago and conservation efforts are being made to safeguard this precious marine ecosystem.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

An innovative financing arrangement for the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve has been entered into by Turneffe Flats, an internationally recognized fly fishing, scuba diving and ecotourism resort, and the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association.  The agreement summarizes a joint effort to provide critical resources for protecting Turneffe’s unique and special environment.


Lindsay Garbutt, Chairman, TASA

Lindsay Garbutt

“Dr. Craig Hayes is one of those rare ones who puts his money where his mouth is.  I first met Dr. Hayes more than ten years ago, when he thought that my experience and his resources could work together to help to push for the formation of the Turneffe Atoll as a marine reserve and to start up an NGO which became TASA that would manage that reserve.”


Turneffe Flats will provide TASA with one point five million Belize dollars over the next six years, with specific requirements emphasizing conservation initiatives for the long-term benefit of Turneffe and Belize.  Through this agreement, forty percent of the grant monies will go toward general operating costs at TASA.


Dr. Craig Hayes

Dr. Craig Hayes

Dr. Craig Hayes, Principal Owner, Turneffe Flats

“This has been a multi-months effort and in fact, it’s really a multi-year effort to put this together.  And we had our differences, our discussions and as Lindsay said, I think we have remained focused on the fact that we want to do the best for Turneffe and we want to create an organization that will move Turneffe Atoll forwards and in the process, Belize.”



The remaining sixty percent will be designated for specific agreed-upon conservation initiatives approved by Turneffe Flats.  As an important part of the agreement, TASA and the Turneffe Atoll Trust have committed to working more closely for the benefit of Turneffe Atoll.


Dr. Craig Hayes

“I’ve always been passionate the idea that Turneffe needed a strong and effective marine reserve and at that time that structure at Turneffe was very much lacking.  It was put in place and I concur fully that Valdemar and his staff have really taken TASA to a new level and my compliments in that regard.  As Lindsay mentioned, the original concept of the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve was to build a model stakeholder based reserve and this agreement, for one thing, among other things, brings that back a little bit in focus.”


The agreement ensures that an active commercial fishing stakeholder and a tourism stakeholder will hold seats on TASA’s board.


Valdemar Andrade

Valdemar Andrade, Executive Director, TASA

“We have a natural resource-based economy and this type of approach and model is groundbreaking in that this the type of approach that we need because if we are to pay our staff to continue the enforcement work, to continue the science work, to continue to reach out to the stakeholders and inform them of what are finding on the ground this is the only way that we will be able to do it for the foreseeable future. It comes down to bigger fish and more fish.  We always say that that’s what they want to see, bigger fish and more fish.  Craig has told me that over the trajectory of the forty years that he as been there, a little bit longer than I have been there, I’ve only been there six years going to seven, you know, the fly fishers have seen better fish, in terms of the grand slam, the permit, the tarpon and the bonefish and they have done their fair share.”


Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

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