Frontiers has operated in Belize for over 40 years and was thrilled to receive the excellent news from Turneffe Flats Lodge that Minister Figueroa officially enacted a country-wide gillnet ban on November 5, 2020. This is great news for Belize's marine environment after a long process led over the past several years by Turneffe Atoll Trust (TAT).
In 2018, TAT formed the Coalition for Sustainable Fisheries -- bringing sport fishing, commercial fishing, tourism, and conservation organizations together to work toward a ban. An essential piece to securing the ban was financial support for Belize's legal gillnet fishermen. The Coalition raised BZ$1,000,000 for this purpose, and Oceana Belize raised a similar amount. Ninety-six percent (96%) of the Coalition portion came directly from the fly fishing industry (fly fishers, lodges, guides, and businesses). Turneffe Flats clients, owners, and staff contributed more than 22% of the total. Thanks to everyone who generously supported this effort!
The ban will benefit Belize tremendously as gillnetting has severely affected both sport fishing and commercial fishing, particularly in Southern Belize and near Belize's Northern border. This offers a brighter future for sport fishing and sustainable commercial fishing in Belize, protecting tourism and commercial fishing jobs while securing Belize's food resources.
We are excited about the fishing future in Belize. Since reopening in October, many of Turneffe Flats Lodge guests have landed permit and jumped tarpon. The lodge has had multiple grand slams in the last several weeks. Despite some inclement fall weather, the reports from returning guests have been phenomenal. These flats have been well rested for months, and the fishing has been really solid.
The Belize airport reopened on 1st October for international travel. Travellers to Belize must test negative for COVID-19, and all visitors to Belize must register via the Belize Travel Health App before entering the country. You will need to register on the app no more than 72 hours before your arrival in Belize. After filling out the eight-step application process, a unique QR code will be provided, which should be presented to health authorities at the international airport upon arrival.
Belize is not on the UK Safe List yet.
With many of the guests postponing their trips this season, we suggest you consider booking your 2021 trip soon to ensure decent availability.