Friday, April 16, 2010 at 11:50am
FILMING/PHOTOGRAPHY/MEDIA VISITS at Marine Protected Areas Co-managed by
Southern Environmental Association (SEA)
Southern Environmental Association "is a non-governmental organization
(NGO) that continuously works towards improving stewardship and the
environmental integrity of key marine areas in southern Belize (Laughing
Bird Caye National Park, Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve and
Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve) through effective, collaborative
protected area management, community involvement and strategic
partnerships for the benefit of all stakeholders". In order to preserve
the environmental integrity of marine resources and to ensure the
enjoyment of those resources by current and future stakeholders,
Southern Environmental Association has developed the following
guidelines as they relate to filming, photo shoots and media visits
within the marine protected area boundaries of Laughing Bird Caye
National Park, Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve and Sapodilla
Cayes Marine Reserve.
These guidelines are in accordance with the policies of Southern
Environmental Association and were developed to prevent potential
deleterious impacts to the marine ecosystems within the protected areas
and the disruption of visitor use.
Permits are required to access marine protected areas for professional
/commercial photography and filming activities and media visits to
ensure protection of resources and to prevent significant disruption of
normal visitor uses, or when they involve props, models, set dressings,
professional crews and casts.
In general, filmmakers and photographers seeking to produce film or
photography within the marine protected areas for personal or
non-commercial purposes are not required to apply for a permit. However,
such filmmakers and photographers must supply to Southern Environmental
Association with a detailed description of activities in a prescribed
format developed by Southern Environmental Association.
News media wishing to access the marine protected areas for
entertainment or to cover breaking news events will need to consult with
Southern Environmental Association to determine if a filming permit will
Prior to submitting an application to Southern Environmental Association
for a FILMING PERMIT, filmmakers and photographers with definite plans
to shoot commercial films, photographs, documentaries or media spots in
Belize must submit a FILM LICENSE APPLICATION to the Belize Film
To apply for a FILMING PERMIT, please complete and submit a Southern
Environmental Association filming permit application form to the
Development Director (contact information on last page of these guidelines).
Applications must be submitted to Southern Environmental Association for
processing of simple requests at least two weeks prior to the
anticipated commencement date of any filming or photography activities.
Requests that involve multiple locations, complex logistics and
extensive coordination may require a processing period of four weeks.
Applications are processed in the order in which they are received.
Priority will not be given to urgent requests. Submission of an
application does not automatically guarantee that a FILMING PERMIT will
A non-refundable processing fee of US $50.00 must accompany each
professional/commercial photography and filming activities application.
Payment can be made in the form of a cashier's check or money order and
must be payable to Southern Environmental Association. Approval of
applications for a FILMING PERMIT is subject to a schedule of fees that
will be payable upon the granting of the permit.
SCHEDULE OF FEES
Protected Area Entrance Fee
A park entrance fee is required for all visitors to enter any of the
three marine protected areas co-managed by Southern Environmental
Association. These fees are to be paid for each entry into the protected
area and will allow access to the protected area only for the duration
of the filming/photography schedule agreed to by Southern Environmental
Association and the applicant in the FILMING PERMIT. The entrance fee
does not automatically grant exclusive rights to film crews,
photographers or media personnel to access any location within any of
the respective marine protected areas. Grantees of a permit must remain
within the specific designated locations to conduct all activities as
agreed to by Southern Environmental Association and the grantee in the
Laughing Bird Caye National Park US $10
Gladden Spit & Silk Cayes Marine Reserve US $10
Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve US $10
Whale Shark Zone Entrance Fee
All visitors to the Whale Shark Zone at Gladden Spit & Silk Cayes Marine
Reserve are subject to an entrance fee. This fee is to be paid for each
entry into the Whale Shark Zone and will allow access to the protected
area only for the duration of the filming/photography schedule agreed to
by Southern Environmental Association and the applicant in the FILMING
Whale Shark Zone Entrance Fee US $15
An administrative fee will be levied to cover the cost associated with
the actual site usage. These fees are as follows for Laughing Bird Caye
National Park, Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve and Sapodilla
Cayes Marine Reserve:
. Photographers shooting 1-4 days are subject to an administrative fee
of US $500 with US$ 100 for each additional day.
. Film crews shooting 1-4 days are subject to an administrative fee of
US $2000 with US $300 for each additional day.
All activities within the marine protected areas must be conducted in
accordance with the respective rules and regulations that govern each
marine protected area. Upon approval, permit grantees shall be supplied
with a list of prohibited activities, as laid out in the regulations for
each marine protected area, which has the potential to damage or
significantly alter marine resources.
RESTRICTIONS AND CONDITIONS
Southern Environmental Association will determine the extent of
allowable dives, including dive depths and schedule for dives. If
filming / photographing activities are taking place within the Whale
Shark Zone, film crews are required to adhere to the Whale Shark Zone
Guidelines, inclusive of time allotted per dive, maximum depth and hours
permitted to dive.
Film crews, photographers and media personnel must rent a dedicated boat
and shall use the services of a captain and assistant approved by
Southern Environmental Association. A list of approved boat captains and
assistants shall be supplied upon request.
Film crews are allowed a maximum of four (4) crew members in the water
at any given time, of which, one is to be an approved guide. Crews are
to have at least two (2) people on the boat, which shall include the
boat captain and boat captain's assistant. Film Crews are allowed a
maximum of two (2) cameras or videos in water per dive. In an effort to
mitigate any potential disruptions to the ongoing ecological processes
at this site, requests for crew sizes exceeding six (6) individuals must
be reviewed and approved on a case by case basis by Southern
It shall be the responsibility of film crews, photographers and media
personnel to carry satellite phones and radios in their emergency kit as
a safety precaution.
Supervisory Staff Requirements
Filming within the Whale Shark Zone at Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes
Marine Reserve must be accompanied by at least one whale shark
accredited Dive Master or researcher approved by Southern Environmental
Association. It will be the responsibility of film crews to cover this
individual's fee for the duration of the filming activity.
Should Southern Environmental Association allow overnight stays at the
Protected Areas, the film crew must be accompanied by an approved
guide/dive master to supervise all night activities. The film crew would
have to cover this individual's fee.
The Southern Environmental Association reserves the right to monitor
activities as specified and agreed to in the permit.
Filming/Photography Permit Conditions
Upon approval, permits shall be developed by Southern Environmental
Association which shall contain detailed terms and conditions of the
permit and will be developed on a case by case basis. The permit shall
also include Southern Environmental Association's policy for the payment
of fees. The permit will only be considered a valid agreement upon
signing by Southern Environmental Association and the permit grantee.
Southern Environmental Association reserves the right to request copies
of the final production of video or photographic development to use for
non-commercial purposes (i.e. educational, scientific, etc) that will
enhance and promote the management of the marine protected areas that it
DENIAL OF REQUEST FOR PERMIT
Requests for a FILMING PERMIT may be denied if it is the opinion of the
Southern Environmental Association's Executive Director, Protected Area
Manager or other qualified technical consultants that the proposed
. Represents a potential harm or impact on the protected areas' natural,
cultural or recreational resources or may create health or safety risks,
or disrupt visitor use and enjoyment;
. It is determined that supervisory requirements for the proposed
activities will place unreasonable burdens on protected area staff,
regardless of the applicant's willingness to pay for supervisory costs;
. The proposed filming or photography would conflict with visitors'
normal use of the marine protected area.
TERMINATION OF PERMIT
All filming or photography permits issued by Southern Environmental
Association are "revocable" on 24 hours notice or WITHOUT NOTICE if the
terms of the permit are violated. Deliberate infractions of the terms of
the filming permit or the deliberate making of false or misleading
statements concerning intended actions in order to obtain a permit are
causes for immediate termination of the permit and cause for possible
prosecution. Permits will be revoked if damage to resources or
facilities is threatened, or if there is a clear danger to public health
Completed application forms for FILMING PERMITS within Marine Protected
Areas co-managed by Southern Environmental Association can be sent with
cashier's check or money order for US $50 made out to Southern
Environmental Association to:
Southern Environmental Association
Placencia Village, Stann Creek District
Belize Central America
For questions or additional information, please forward to: