On This Page

   Commercial Species
   Non-Commercial Species
   Sportfishing Species


Turneffe has long been a prolific commercial fishery.  Key target species are Spiny lobster (Panulirus argus), Queen conch (Strombus gigas) and several species of fin fish.  Links to some pertinent publications are listed below.

            Spiny Lobster             Queen Conch         Nassau Grouper

Belize Fisheries Department, 2002 Annual Report

Belize Fisheries Act Chapter 210 – Revised Edition 2000 showing the Law as at 31st December, 2000. This is a revised edition of the law, prepared by the Law Revision Commissioner under the authority of the Law Revision Act, Chapter 3 of the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 1980 - 1990.
Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System Project (MBRS), September 19, 2003 (inputs from: Mito Paz, Hugo Hidalgo, Jose Antonio Fuentes, Eloy Sosa, Kevin Rhodes and Björn Kjerve)

Heyman W., Requena N., "Status of Multi-Species Spawning Aggregations in Belize”,  The Nature Conservancy September 2002

Heyman , William D., ‘Spawning Aggregations in Belize - A Report Generated for the Workshop,  "Towards A Sustainable Management of Nassau Groupers in Belize”’, The Nature Conservancy,  July 30, 2001

Gardiner R, Harborne A. Coral Cay Conservation Ltd, "Summary of Coral Caye Conservation’s Data on Commercially Important Reef Fish and Invertebrates from Turneffe Atoll, Belize”, September 2000          


Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System Project (MBRS), September 19, 2003 (inputs from: Mito Paz, Hugo Hidalgo, Jose Antonio Fuentes, Eloy Sosa, Kevin Rhodes and Björn Kjerve)

Luczkovich, J. J. and M. Keusenkothen (2007). "Behavior and Sound Production by Longspine Squirrelfish Holocentrus rufus During Playback of Predator and Conspecific Sounds."

Ben-David, J. and J. P. Kritzer (2005). "Early life history and settlement of the slender filefish, Monacanthus tuckeri (Monacanthidae), at Calabash Caye, Turneffe Atoll, Belize." Environmental Biology of Fishes 73(3): 275-282.

Edited by Harborne A., September 2000, "Fish and Coral Species Lists compiled by Coral Cay Conservation: Belize 1990-1998”

Chittaro, P., et al. (2005). "Using otolith microchemistry of Haemulon flavolineatum (French grunt) to characterize mangroves and coral reefs throughout Turneffe Atoll, Belize: Difficulties at small spatial scales." Estuaries 28(3): 373-381.

Chittaro, P. M., et al. (2006). "Spatial variation in otolith chemistry of Lutjanus apodus at Turneffe Atoll, Belize." Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 67(4): 673-680.

Chittaro, P., et al. (2006). "The differentiation of Stegastes partitus populations using lapillar and sagittal otolith chemistry." Journal of Fish Biology 68(6): 1909-1917.

Mumby, P. J. (2006). "Connectivity of reef fish between mangroves and coral reefs: algorithms for the design of marine reserves at seascape scales." Biological Conservation 128(2): 215-222.

Hogan, J. D., R. Fisher, and C. Nolan. 2007. Critical swimming speed of settlement-stage coral reef fishes from the Caribbean: a methodological and geographical comparison. Bull. Mar. Sci. 80: 219-231.
Allsop DJ, West SA. Sex allocation in the sex-changing marine goby on atoll fringing reefs. Evolutionary Ecology Research 6843-855. 2004.
Bernardi G, Alva-Campbell YR, Gasparini JL, Floeter SR. Molecular ecology, speciation, and evolution of the reef fish genus Anisotremus. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48(3): 929-935. 2008.
Bernardi G, Lape J. Tempo and mode of speciation in the Baja California disjunct fish species Anisotremus davidsonii. Molecular Ecology 14(13): 4085-4096. 2005.
Bond ME, Babcock EA, Pikitch EK, Abercrombie DL, Lamb NF, Chapman DD. Reef Sharks Exhibit Site-Fidelity and Higher Relative Abundance in Marine Reserves on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. PLoS ONE 7(3): e32983. 2012.
Chapman DD, Pikitch EK, Babcock EA, Shivji MS. Deep-diving and diel changes in vertical habitat use by Caribbean reef sharks Carcharhinus perezi. Marine Ecology Progress Series 344271-275. 2007.
Chittaro P, Fryer B, Sale P. Discrimination of French grunts (Haemulon flavolineatum, Desmarest, 1823) from mangrove and coral reef habitats using otolith microchemistry. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 308(2): 169-183. 2004.
Chittaro P, Hogan J, Gagnon J, Fryer B, Sale P. In situ experiment of ontogenetic variability in the otolith chemistry of Stegastes partitus. Marine Biology 149(5): 1227-1235. 2006.
Chittaro P, Hogan JD. Patterns of connectivity among populations of a coral reef fish. Coral Reefs 32(2): 341-354. 2013.
Chittaro PM, Usseglio P, Sale PF. Variation in fish density, assemblage composition and relative rates of predation among mangrove, seagrass and coral reef habitats. Environmental Biology of Fishes 72(2): 175-187. 2005.
Ellison A, Leaniz CG, Consuegra S. Inbred and furious: negative association between aggression and genetic diversity in highly inbred fish. Molecular Ecology 22(8): 2292-2300. 2013.
FISCHTHAL JH. Some digenetic trematodes of marine fishes from the Barrier Reef and Reef Lagoon of Belize. Zoologica Scripta 6(2): 81-88. 1978.
FISCHTHAL JH. Allometric growth in four species of digenetic trematodes of marine fishes from Belize. Zoologica Scripta 7(1‐4): 13-18. 1978.
Graham RT, Castellanos DW. Courtship and spawning behaviors of carangid species in Belize. Fishery Bulletin 103(2): 426-432. 2005.
Hogan JD, Thiessen RJ, Heath DD. Variability in connectivity indicated by chaotic genetic patchiness within and among populations of a marine fish. Marine Ecology Progress Series (MPES). 2010.
Hogan JD, Thiessen RJ, Sale PF, Heath DD. Local retention, dispersal and fluctuating connectivity among populations of a coral reef fish. Oecologia 168(1): 61-71. 2012.
Kobara S, Heyman WD. Sea bottom geomorphology of multi-species spawning aggregation sites in Belize. Marine Ecology Progress Series 405243-254. 2010.
Nolan CJ, Danilowicz BS. Advantages of using crest nets to sample presettlement larvae of reef fished in Caribbean Sea. Fishery Bulletin (Seattle) 106(2): 213-221. 2008.
Paz G, Sedberry GR, Alicea E. Spawning of Black Grouper (Mycteroperca Bonaci, Serranidae) in Belize. Greenreef Belize. 2007.
Paz M, Grimshaw T. 2001. Status report on Nassau groupers for Belize, Central America. In: Workshop report ‘Towards Sustainable Management of Nassau Groupers in Belize’, Belize City.
SELWYN J, DOWNEY-WALL A, USSEGELIO P, HOGAN D. 2013. Decadal Changes in Reef Fish Recruitment at Turneffe Atoll, Belize: Before and After Lionfish Invasion. In: 66th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute.
Stevenson DE. 1998. Stock identification in Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus, using microsatellite DNA analysis. In: 50th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries


Very little research has been done world-wide on the major saltwater sportfishing species pursued in Belize, the Yucatan, Florida, the Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean.  Two key studies, by Rachel Graham and Aaron Adams, have been done at Turneffe.  

Tarpon  Permit  Bonefish 

Links to these publications are listed below.

Environmental Biology of Fishes 75(2): 209-217.Graham R. T., Castellanos D. W. "Courtship and spawning behaviors of carangid species in Belize”, Fishery Bulletin 103(2); Pages 426-432.
Adams AJ, Wolfe RK, Tringali MD, Wallace EM, Kellison GT. Rethinking the Status of Albula spp. Biology in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic. In: Biology and management of the world tarpon and bonefish fisheries.Edited by, p. 203. 2007.

Adams, A. J., et al. (2006). "Patterns of juvenile habitat use and seasonality of settlement by permit, Trachinotus falcatus." 

Economic Impact of Recreational Fishing for Bonefish, Permit and Tarpon in Belize for 2007, Fedler, A., Hayes, C.  
Economic Impact of Recreational Fishing for Bonefish, Permit and Tarpon in Belize for 2007 - Executive Summary, Fedler, A., Hayes, C.