August 3, 2018
Three representatives of BTT were recently in Xcalak, Mexico to talk about research and conservation with the anglers, guides and government representatives at the second annual Silver Scales Fishing Tournament. The BTT team consisted of Addiel Perez, who is a BTT collaborating scientist conducting bonefish tagging research out of ECOSUR research center, Dr. Aaron Adams, BTT’s Director of Science & Conservation, and Jon-Pierre Kristov of the Belize Game Fish Network, a long-time collaborator with BTT.
18 anglers from Argentina, Belize, Mexico, the United States, and Venezuela participated in the tournament, which took place in late July. They were guided by 10 of the most experienced fly fishing guides from all over the Quintana Roo and from as far away as Holbox to the north, Punta Allen in the middle and Xcalak to the south. Numerous bonefish, tarpon, and permit were caught and released.
The tournament gave the BTT trio the chance to talk to anglers, guides and municipal representatives about best handling practices for catch and release. They also had the opportunity to have important conversations with the regional political leaders about recent bonefish tagging research findings on migration of mature adult bonefish from various areas of Xcalak region in Mexico and Belize to form large pre-spawning aggregations in Belize. The conversation also highlighted the importance of healthy habitats to the healthy flats fishery in Xcalak and the surrounding area, and focused on the likely impact the dredging of the Zaragoza Canal (an area that borders Belize) in the Chetumal Bay could have on the local bonefish population, as the area contains the primary feeding grounds for pre-adult bonefish (18-30 cm) and is where most of the fly fishing in Xcalak takes place. The BTT representatives also discussed how conservation can help to increase the economic impact of this growing flats fishery, particularly because tagging research has shown bonefish have small home ranges and they move to areas in Belize close to the border where many anglers who travel to Belize also fish.
We thank the tournament organizers, brothers Mauricio and Javier Osorio, as well as to all participants. First place went to angler Alejandro Vega (Mr. Sandflea) of Tarpon Club of Mexico, second place to the Acosta brothers (Cesar and Gil Junior) from El Pescador Lodge and Villas from Belize, and third place to Dr. Rafael Negron from La Pescadora Lodge of Mexico.
Special thanks to Rob Mukai, owner of the Acocote Inn, who hosted the BTT trio. For the many donations, we also thank Costa del Mar, TFO, Fish Monkey, Motonautica Chetumal, Bushveld’s Wine and Spirits.
1: From left to right: Jon-Pierre, Dr. Aaron Adams, Addiel and Carlos Godoy (Expert tarpon angler of Chetumal). Photo: Dr. Aaron Adams
2: From left to right: Addiel (right) speaks to the president of Othón P. Blanco municipality María Luisa Alcérreca Manzanero and other official representatives, Verónica Zavala Pérez and Germán Vidal González Pavón. Photo: Jon-Pierre
3: Tournament participants. Photo: Carlos Godoy.
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