The Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve is organized into General Use, Conservation, Special Use and Preservation Zones.  Each zone has specific regulations as noted below.  For more specific information about regulations, refer to the Statutory Instrument (S.I.) effecting these regulations....   Statutory Instrument 111 of 2012

General Use Zone

  1. Only persons with commercial, sport, subsistence and recreational fishing licenses shall be permitted to fish at Turneffe Atoll.
  2. No person are permitted to use beach traps, seine or gill nets, or long lines in the Marine Reserve.
  3. No person within the Marine Reserve shall cast or drag any anchor in any manner that may damage coral reef formation.
  4. Fishermen catching lobster shall possess such lobster while in the Marine Reserve as tails within the carapace but not as fillet, and conch as whole or market cleaned but not filleted or diced.
  5. No clearing of mangroves shall be conducted without the approval of the Forest Department and the Management Board.
  6. No collection of flora and fauna shall be conducted except with permission from the relevant permitting authority and the Management Board.
  7. No dredging shall be conducted without the approval of the Fisheries Department and the Management Board. 
  8. All proposed tourism development must go through the E.I.A. process, and be conducted following relevant guidelines and legislation, with adequate monitoring.

Conservation Zones

Conservation Zones follow the same regulations as those for the General Use Zone, but are more restrictive with additional regulations in place.

The Conservation Zones have identical management regimes, and provide areas free from commercial fishing, undisturbed replenishment areas for recruitment of commercial and other species, and enhance the value of the area for recreational and tourism activities. No-take recreational activities, such as snorkeling SCUBA diving and kayaking, are permitted within this zone. Sport fishing is allowed within Conservation Zones but only with a valid license and only as catch and release.

  1. No extractive fishing is allowed within the Conservation Zones.
  2. Spear fishing shall not be permitted within the Conservation Zones. 
  3. Snorkeling, diving and sport fishing shall be allowed in the Reserve, with the following regulations in place for diving an snorkeling.
  4. All dive boats shall fly the "divers down flag” when they have divers in the water (a flag with a white diagonal stripe upon background);
  5. Only certified scuba divers, or divers undergoing a training course   conducted by a recognized instructor shall be allowed to use SCUBA equipment in the Reserve;
  6. Dive guides or tour guides shall be required to explain the rules of the Reserve to all divers, snorkelers or visitors within the Reserve;
  7. All motor boats are to observe the low wake boat way when approaching snorkelers or divers;

Preservation Zone

1. No extractive fishing is allowed within the Preservation Zone.
2. No fishing, sport fishing diving, or any other water activity shall be permitted within the Preservation     Zone.
3. No motorized boats shall be permitted within the Preservation Zone except in cases of emergency or with prior writen    permission from the Fisheries Administrator. 
4. No research activities will be conducted within the Preservation Zone unless for management                 purposes.

Special Management Zones

The Special Management Areas follow the same regulations as the General Use Zone with the following exceptions.
Zone IIB: Cockroach - Grassy Caye Special Management Area
  • Harvesting of conch is not permitted in this zone.
Zone III: Vincent's Lagoon Special Management Area
  • Extractive fishing is allowed in Zone III but it shall be limited to traditional users of the area as defined by the Fisheries Administrator.