Project Belize

Project Belize: Five Year Plan

Project Belize is a collaborative, multi-year research and conservation program to provide information directly applicable to conservation and protection of the Flats Fishery and habitats. Scientific information will be used to identify home ranges, spawning locations, spawning migration pathways, and juvenile habitats for bonefish, tarpon, permit, and snook, and determine sustainable levels of fishing effort.  Contact us to find out how you can become involved in Project Belize.

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 Conservation Objectives:

  • Identify and protect important fishing areas
  • Identify and protect habitats important to all life stages of recreational species
  • Enact conservation zones of appropriate size and dimensions to protect the recreational fisheries
  • Identify and protect spawning locations for recreational fishes
  • Determine sustainable levels of fishing pressure and implement appropriate measures to control effort
  • Use data on the economic impact of the recreational fishery to enable conservation
  • Educate the citizens of Belize about the importance of conservation to their nation and economy

Program Milestones:

  • Ongoing tag-recapture program for bonefish and permit (2009-2013)
  • Satellite tagging and tracking of 8 adult tarpon (2008 – 2013)
  • Meetings with Guide Associations, Department of Fisheries, Coastal Zone Management on a national strategy for recreational fisheries (2013, ongoing)
  • Identification of Common Bonefish, Albula vulpes, as the species in the recreational flats fishery (2011)
  • Identification of windward sandy beaches as essential juvenile permit habitat (2003)
  • Documentation of slow growth rates by bonefish (2009)

Next Steps:

  • Conduct economic impact study of the flats fishery. This provides leverage for conservation measures
  • Work with guides to create Fishing Area Maps that identify areas critical to the fishery so that fishing access and habitat protections can be incorporated into conservation strategies
  • Work with CZM and local NGOs to revise and improve Habitat Maps so that conservation efforts can be prioritized
  • Continue tag-recapture to identify home ranges for bonefish and permit so these areas can be prioritized for conservation
  • Satellite tagging to identify permit spawning locations so that these locations can be protected, and document home range to spawning location connections to help prioritize conservation areas
  • Identify opportunities for and conduct habitat restoration of abandoned coastal shrimp farms to juvenile tarpon and snook nursery habitats
  • Implement a guide Logbook program to monitor catch rates over time, evaluation of the fishery over time, determine sustainable levels of effort
  • Formulate and implement a nationwide Education program highlighting the economic and social importance of the flats fishery and dependence of the fishery on healthy habitats
  • Conduct a coastal survey to identify juvenile habitats so they can be protected

Outcomes:

  • Documentation of the economic impact of the fishery = political leverage for flats conservation
  • Comprehensive conservation plan protecting the flats fishery from threats (coastal development, dredging, netting). Identify and protect:BZE-100406-352 gp

       oSpawning locations

       oJuvenile habitats

       oFlats Fishing areas

  • Implement rod limit (control fishing effort) as appropriate based on trends in catch data
  • A citizenry educated about the importance of the flats fishery and need for conservation
  • Convert damaged areas into viable juvenile tarpon and snook habitat

 

 

 

 

 Sponsors

TIDE, Central Belize Inshore Fishermen’s Association, Tres Pescados Tournament,

Lodges: Belcampo, Belize River Lodge, El Pescador, Garbutt’s Fishing Lodge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journal Locations

Need to pick up an extra copy of the Bonefish & Tarpon Journal?  Stop in to one of the shops below that carry the Journal (or you can email bob@bonefishtarpontrust.org).

Name Location
Apalach Outfitters  Apalachicola, FL
Bass Pro Fort Myers  Fort Myers, FL
Bass Pro Shops  Springfield, MO
Bear's Den FlyFishing  Taunton, MA
Black Fly Outfitters  Jacksonville, FL
Blue Ribbon Flies  West Yellowstone, MT
Bob Marriotts Fly Fishing Store  Fullerton, CA
Boca Gande Outfitters  Boca Grande, FL
Bucking Rainbow Outfitters  Steamboat Springs, CO
Cape Tool & Tackle  Cape Coral, FL
Captain Harry's  Miami, FL
Charleston Angler  Charleston, SC
Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters  Chicago, IL
D & D Bait and Tackle  Matlacha, FL
Eldridge Brothers Fly Shop  Cape Neddick, ME
Flint Creek Outfitters  Ocala, FL
Florida Keys Outfitters  Islamorada, FL
Fly Rod Shop  Stowe, VT
Fly Shop of Ft. Lauderdale  Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fly Shop of Miami  Miami, FL
Flying Fish Outfitters  Nokomis, FL
Foscoe Fishing Company  Boone, NC
High Lonesome Ranch  DeBeque, CO
Idaho Angler Outfitters  Eagle, ID
Lehr's Economy Tackle  North Fort Myers, FL
Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters  San Francisco, CA
Lowcountry Fly Shop  Mount Pleasant, SC
Montana Dry Fly Goods  Helena, MT
Mosquito Creek Outdoors  Apopka, FL
Natick Outdoor Store  Natick, MA
Old Florida Outfitters  Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Ole Florida Fly Shop  Boca Raton, FL
Orlando Outfitters  Orlando, FL
Orvis Atlanta  Atlanta, GA
Orvis Baton Rouge  Baton Rouge, LA
Orvis Beaver Creek  Edwards, CO
Orvis Bellevue  Bellevue, WA
Orvis Boston  Boston, MA
Orvis Charlotte  Charlotte, NC
Orvis Chicago  Chicago, IL
Orvis Dallas  Dallas, TX
Orvis Denver  Dencer, CO
Orvis Houston  Houston, TX
Orvis New York City  New York, NY
Orvis Ocean Reef  Ocean Reef, FL
Orvis Pasadena  Pasadena, CA
Orvis Roanoke  Roanoke, VA
Orvis San Francisco  San Francisco, CA
Orvis Tigard  Tigard, OR
Orvis Tyson's Corner  Vienna, VA
Pawleys Island Outdoors  Pawleys Island, SC
Red Drum Tackle  Buxton, NC
Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co  Dallas, TX
Tampa Bay On the Fly  Tampa, FL
Tampa Bay Outfitters  Tampa, FL
Taylor Creek Fly Shop  Basalt, CO
TCO Fly Shop  Reading, PA
Tex's Tackle  Wilmington, NC
The Angler's Edge  Houston, TX
The Angling Company  Key West, FL
The Bait Box  Sanibel, FL
The Fly Shop  Redding, CA
The Saltwater Angler  Key West, FL
The Trout Shop  Craig, MT
Tradewinds Bait & Tackle  Ocracoke, NC
Trout and Grouse  Northbrook, IL
Uptown Angler  New Orleans, LA
Urban Angler  New York, NY
Urban Angler Virginia  Arlington, VA
Vero's Tackle and Sport Shop  Vero Beach, FL
West Marine  Fort Myers Beach, FL
West Marine  Bonita Springs, FL
West Marine  Fort Myers, FL
West Marine  Fort Myers, FL
West Marine  Cape Coral, FL
West Winds Fly Shop  Calgary, AB
Westport Outfitters LLC  Westport, CT
Worldwide Sportsman  Islamorada, FL
Yellowstone Angler  Livingston, MT
Zeigler's Fly Bait & Tackle  Sanibel, FL

Subcategories

  • Research

    It may seem obvious, but a species can’t be conserved or managed if little is known about the species’ biology and ecology. As scary as it may seem to avid anglers who pursue Tarpon, Bonefish, and Permit, we do not know enough about these species to ensure their long-term health. The BTT research program is based on an assessment of what is known about Tarpon, Bonefish, and Permit, the most likely threats to these species, and the research priorities that will address the most important needs.

    We have learned a great deal in recent years about these species, but still have a long way to go. For example, we know that tarpon spawn during summer months (e.g., May – July in Florida), but we do not yet know where they spawn. Similarly for bonefish, their spawning locations remain a mystery. To what extent are bonefish in the Bahamas related to Bonefish in Cuba, or even Belize? We know that Tarpon are capable of long distance migrations, but what portion of the Tarpon population stays in a relatively small area and what portion migrates long distances?

    These are just a few of the questions that our Research Program is working to answer. BTT is able to address so many questions because we work through collaborations with scientists from around the world, each with expertise in different aspects of research – genetics, population dynamics, ecology, physiology, and more. BTU also works hard to bring in the funding needed to support these scientists.

    As you browse the pages under Research Programs, you will note broad coverage of issues impacting Bonefish, Tarpon, and Permit. You will note that in many respects we still have a long way to go to gain enough knowledge for effective conservation. You will also find, however, that if these issues re not being addressed now, the needs are known and course has been charted to meet those needs.  Links to research programs are listed below.

  • Conservation Partners

    Conservation Partnerships are partnerships between BTT and guides, anglers, lodges, other conservation groups, individuals, foundations, and corporations that are concerned with the conservation of bonefish, tarpon, and permit populations, the habitats that support these populations, and the recreational fisheries and cultures that depend on these populations.  BTT forms alliances with fishing guides, fishing clubs, anglers, boat manufacturers, tackle and clothing companies, and lodges. BTT realized long ago that these alliances are essential to successfully fulfilling our mission. By providing financial or research support and/or services, Conservation Partnerships help BTT reach the goal of preserving and enhancing future populations of bonefish, tarpon, and permit.Click on a link below to see a list of partners and learn how you can join.

    • Conservation Partner Lodges
    • Conservation Captains
    • Strategic Partners
    • Media Partners
    • Affiliate Chapters
  • About BTT
  • Angler Participation

    Our member surveys indicate that members want to become involved in research as a way to contribute to bonefish, tarpon, and permit conservation beyond their annual donations. Many of our projects benefit from angler (or guide) participation. In fact, some of the projects depend on this participation. Listed below are ongoing programs that are in need of angler (and guide) participation.

    Traveling Angler Program (help BTT by collecting DNA samples from bonefish)

    Tarpon Genetics (collect DNA samples from tarpon)

    Caribbean Bonefish Research Program (travel to a lodge participating in this important program)

    Tarpon Tagging Program (conventional and satellite tagging to monitor tarpon movements)

    Conservation Partners - Lodges and Captains (fish with BTT partners to thank them for their support of BTT)

  • Education

    The Education section is where you can find the latest information on topics from proper handling practices for catch and release fishing to how to tag a bonefish. Be sure to check back on occasion for updates.

    Extra Content - BTT Journal 2011

    Best practices for bonefish catch and release

    General catch and release practices

    How to fin clip a bonefish (video)

    How to tag a bonefish (video)

    How to tag a tarpon (video)

    How to sample tarpon DNA (video)

     

  • Fish Info
    The Fish Info section is where we provide basic biological information on bonefish, tarpon, and permit. Things like life cycles, diets, and other interesting and useful tidbits. Check back for updates.
  • Collaboration

    One of BTT’s core operating strategies is to increase our productivity by forming collaborations and partnerships with scientific researchers, other conservation organizations, guides, lodges, anglers, and fishing organizations. These alliances create an overall effort that is greater than the sum of its parts, and allows all of us to get a lot more done toward a common goal. The spirit of collaboration is evident in the fact that many of BTT’s Founding Members are leaders within the ranks of the International Game Fish Association, Coastal Conservation Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, Miami Beach Rod & Reel Club, the International Woman’s Fly Fishing Association, and the Ocean Reef Rod & Gun Club.

    BTT’s current list of scientific collaborators include University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Mote Marine Laboratory, Florida Institute of Technology, Cape Eleuthera Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Carleton University, and the American Fisheries Society Fisheries Conservation Foundation (FCF). In fact, in 2006, BTT entered an agreement with FCF that will greatly increase BTT’s ability to accomplish our goals.

    Also important are our partnerships with fishing guides, lodges, corporations, members of the marine industry, and fishing clubs.

  • Membership & Donations
  • Conservation Initiatives

    Research alone is not adequate to ensure the long term conservation of bonefish, tarpon, and permit populations and the fisheries that rely on healthy populations. Similarly, conservation advocacy without scientific basis is not an effective long-term conservation strategy. BTT uses research to formulate conservation efforts, and often combines research and conservation/education into a single, wide-reaching effort. All of BTT's conservation initiatives are designed to ensure: effective management of populations of bonefish, tarpon, and permit; conservation of the fisheries; preservation of the cultures that depend on healthy fisheries; and enhancement of populations and fisheries that have suffered declines. We're in this for the long term. BTT's ongoing initiatives are summarized at the links listed below.

    The Bahamas Initiative

    Tarpon as a Federal Gamefish

    Make Bonefish Catch and Release in Florida

    Make Permit Catch and Release in Florida