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Blackadore Caye: Stop the Overwater Structures, Protect the Environment & Public Access

This petition had 1,895 supporters

Leonardo DiCaprio wants to turn a beautiful piece of Belize and its surrounding waters into an exclusive resort for the wealthy.  He plans to violate key provisions of Belizean law by building overwater structures in a newly expanded conservation zone, as well as by restricting public access despite the "Queen's Land" rule. The area in which he plans to build overwater structures is part of a conservation zone designated to protect fly-fishing species and their nursing grounds. To allow those overwater structures is not just a violation of Belizean law, but is an infringement on the livelihood of fly-fishermen and tour guides who have used the area for decades. Please sign our petition to protect the environment at Blackadore Caye and the rights of local fishermen.

More information on the legal issues:

1. Public Access

In the 2000 State of the Coast, Belizean law regarding Queen’s Land and public access is clarified: “Reservations not exceeding 66 feet in width measured from the high water mark along all water frontages shall be reserved for the Government for public purposes.” (page 3) Even in cases where the geography of the property would make a 66-foot reserve impossible, property-owners are required to practically apply the law. Is Leonardo DiCaprio going to implement the 66-foot reserve for public access, or at least attempt a practical application of the law? The answer is no. Instead, he requests an exception to the law. He implies that restricting access completely is necessary given that “security issues are highly important for the demographic visiting the island.” (page 197) It’s strange that someone who emphasizes the importance of protecting indigenous lands, plans to commercialize those lands and prevent indigenous people from accessing them in the interest of “security.”

2. Overwater Structures

A key component of the development at Blackadore, and one lauded as both environmentally friendly and innovative, the overwater structures are actually cause for serious concern. Ironically, they are planned in the newly expanded Conservation Zone V of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The EIA calls this conservation zone, important to the protection of fly-fishing species, a "paper park," without regulations. This could not be more wrong. The government of Belize has specific guidelines regarding the construction of overwater structures. One such guideline is, “The location of an overwater structure must not conflict with zoning objectives, Management Plans, or other management measures within a zoned area.” Furthermore, in the third section of the 2015 Hol Chan Marine Reserve Regulation it is additionally clarified that “no permanent or temporary structures would be allowed to be set up inside the reserve.” Why are Leonardo DiCaprio and his team of Wall Street executives being allowed to violate two key provisions of Belizean environmental law?

3. Fly-Fishing Concerns

The conservation zone where the overwater structures are planned is specifically designated to protect fly-fishing species and their nursing grounds. Fly-fishing makes up a major part of our tourism industry, and that area is very important to the local economy. Unfortunately, in the EIA there is only one line speaking about fly-fishing and it is spoken about as if it isn't important. To say that only "a few fisher folk" use the area undermines the importance of the conservation area and of that area to the economy.

Today: Defend Blackadore is counting on you

Defend Blackadore Caye needs your help with “Government of Belize, Leonardo Dicaprio, Living Future Institute, Department of Environment, NEAC: Blackadore Caye: Stop the Overwater Structures, Protect the Environment & Public Access”. Join Defend Blackadore and 1,894 supporters today.