Protected Marine Area
One of the main objectives of establishing the protected are was to preserve a space representative of the varied flora and fauna against the constant strain of development. Turtle Harbour includes such diverse ecosystems as coral reefs, mangroves, sea grasses, beaches, iron shore, and savannas. It includes an assortment of endangered and rare species of plants and animals. It covers an area of about 750 hectares.
A field project report developed in 1994 and 1995 by students of the Wildlife Areas Management course (BI-611), taught by the Biology Department of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH), was the basis for the Management Plan adopted in 2001. The plan was formulated by Paolo Ceratto in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Coral Cay Conservation, and BICA.
In 2002, the Bay Islands Environmental Management Project started preparing long-term plans for all protected areas in the Bay Islands. The Marine Protected Area has been extended to include both Turtle Harbour and Rock Harbour. The plans give BICA many tools in its effort to consesrve and promote these precious parts of Utila.
We are in the process of updated this page because the Protected Areas of Utila are now legally protected at the national level. Please check back soon.
In 2002, BICA proposed the Bay Islands Environmental Management Project in order to extend Utila’s protected areas to Turtle Harbour, Raggedy Key, and Turtle Harbour-Rock Harbour Marine National Park (see map below). This proposal was accepted by the Utila Municipality, which has a co-management Agreement with BICA for the responsibility of the protected areas in Utila.