Placencia Lagoon, a semi-enclosed shallow coastal estuarine system, is located in Stann Creek District in southern Belize. The lagoon is separated from the sea by a narrow sand peninsula that stretches southwards for approximately 25 kilometers and lies in a landscape of associated wetlands, mangroves, pine savanna and tropical broadleaf forest. The Placencia lagoon is a biodiversity-rich matrix of inundated and fringing mangrove, creeks, seagrass meadows and open water, is an important nursery for a multitude of fish species and provides refuge for the endangered Antillean manatee. Placencia, with a population of just over 2,000 residents, was once a sleepy fishing village that has grown over the past ten years to become a significant tourist destination. Tourism, unsustainable fishing and boating, mangrove clearing, development, lack of wastewater management, and oil exploration and drilling threaten the lagoon, its fisheries, marine life, and communities. Placencia Lagoon Waterkeeper is working to enforce and strengthen its marine protected areas.
Arreini Palacio Morgan completed her studies in Mass Communications at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica. She has ten years of experience working in conservation for non-governmental organizations in Belize, including the Protected Areas Conservation Trust and in a senior management role at the Belize Audubon Society. Arreini is the Executive Director of the Southern Environmental Association (SEA), a non-governmental organization created in 2008 to improve stewardship and the environmental integrity of key marine areas in southern Belize through effective, collaborative protected areas management, community involvement, and strategic partnerships for the benefit of all stakeholders. As Executive Director of SEA, and now also as Placencia Lagoon Waterkeeper, Arreini is responsible for the management of two marine protected areas.
Placencia Village, Stann Creek District