About Turneffe Atoll

Turneffe Atoll is a global hotspot for marine biodiversity, and a vital part of the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. A must-see destination for responsible travellers and anyone who’s passionate about marine conservation.


About Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve

Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve protects almost 1 400km2 of the greater Mesoamerican Reef. Even though Turneffe is a discrete coral structure, it’s part of this much larger barrier reef. Turneffe Atoll lies approximately 50km off the eastern coast of Belize. There are no permanent human settlements withing the reserve, but it’s a vital resource for local coastal communities and ecotourism. Above all, Turneffe Atoll is a biodiversity hotspot and a place that we need to protect for future generations.


About Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association

The Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA) is a non-profit NGO and the official co-manager of the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, working in partnership with the Government of Belize.

Established in 2013, TASA is dedicated to the stewardship of the Turneffe Atoll, carrying out day-to-day operations within the marine reserve.

This includes a wide range of activities from science monitoring of marine environments, to education and outreach efforts. TASA plays a critical role in implementing sustainable management practices, enforcing conservation laws, and advocating for policies that support the long-term health and vitality of the marine reserve.

Through its comprehensive and collaborative approach, TASA protects biodiversity and secures sustainable livelihoods at the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve for the benefit of Belize.

TASA's Programs


What is a Marine Protected Area?

A Marine Protected Area (MPA) or Marine Reserve is the ocean equivalent of a national park on land – that is, a designated area that’s legally protected to ensure the survival of ecosystems and wildlife. MPAs are multi-purpose areas with conservation as their core purpose, but which often also provide for livelihoods for local people and enable responsible travel and ecotourism experiences. MPAs often protect a variety of habitats, including coral reefs and deeper water zones.


The Wildlife of Turneffe Atoll

On a visit to Turneffe Atoll, you’re likely to encounter species that may be familiar – and some that you’ve almost certainly never seen before. 

The unique combination of habitats, from the shallow water around the reef to the much deeper ocean just beyond it, mean that Turneffe provides a home to literally hundreds of species of coral, fish, invertebrates and reptiles, from tiny, colourful reef fish to sea turtles, sharks and groupers. Who will you meet?


Explore the Interconnected Ecosystems of Turneffe Atoll

The extensive terrestrial and mangrove vegetation surrounding Turneffe Atoll connects seamlessly to its productive coral reefs, backreef flats, and central lagoon seagrass beds. Within these ecosystems lie crucial habitats for lobster, conch, and various juvenile commercial fish species, essential for Belize’s capture fishery. The seagrass beds and mangrove forests within the atoll lagoons serve as protected nursery areas, nurturing marine life and contributing significantly to the ecological balance of this diverse marine landscape.

Embark on a journey through Turneffe Atoll’s intricate ecosystems, where each component plays a vital role in supporting biodiversity and enhancing environmental resilience.


The importance of science and monitoring

Even more than on land, science and monitoring are vital underwater. The marine environment is as complex as it is beautiful, and there’s a great deal we still don’t know.  

Collecting data helps us make better-informed management decisions and can reveal previously unsuspected risks and links between different species and habitats.

Science helps us make the argument for protecting Turneffe Atoll now and in the future, and gives our passion for preservation a solid grounding in fact.

Science is the author of our stories


How to travel responsibly when visiting marine ecosystems

Marine ecotourism and responsible travel can have a very beneficial impact on marine parks and the coastal communities that depend on them. However, if conducted recklessly or thoughtlessly, tourism can have the opposite effect. We’ve created this guide to help you be more aware of the issues involved when you travel in a marine protected area, and to help you follow best practices during your vacation — It’s vital to get this right, both for today and for future generations. 

Sea the world. Differently.

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