BTIA Press Release: Offshore Seismic Testing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Belize City, Belize – 20th October 2016.
The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) expresses its concern and disappointment at the recent announcement made by the Government of Belize approving seismic testing in Belize’s offshore areas and near our Belize Barrier Reef System.
Specifically, the BTIA is concerned about the lack of information and insufficient consultation. Very little information was shared with the public and key stakeholders before the decision on the multi-beam and seismic testing was made. Also, there was insufficient consultation with the tourism, fisheries and environmental sectors, as well as with the general public, prior to considering any decision on this matter.
Belize has prided itself for its pristine marine resources. The BTIA is extremely concerned about the potential negative effects to Belize’s image as a highly regarded tourism destination as a result of offshore seismic testing. We are also concerned about the potential negative impacts on our fisheries and tourism sectors from petroleum exploration.
The BTIA requests that the seismic testing be immediately halted and The MV Northern Explorer return to port to give time for proper consultations with key stakeholder groups to be conducted. We urge the Government of Belize to reconsider its decision to go forward with these offshore seismic tests and to carefully analyze all the risks and economic impacts that such tests will bring to our country. Given the fragility of our marine ecosystems and their value to tourism and fisheries, adequate consultations and analysis should be undertaken prior to any offshore seismic testing.
The BTIA reiterates the importance of proper environmental impact studies and public consultation. Any irreversible damages to our marine resources would adversely impact the tourism industry, which is the mainstay of Belize’s economy, as well as the livelihoods of all Belizeans who directly and indirectly benefit from tourism.