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BTT to Design New Strategic Plan for Belize and Mexico

In a recent post we announced that Dr. Addiel Perez has joined BTT as the Belize-Mexico Program Coordinator. Although BTT has been conducting research and promoting conservation in Belize for many years, there is an urgent need for a large-scale strategic plan to address the many growing threats to the flats fishery in Belize and Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

The first step in developing the new strategic plan has seen Dr. Perez traveling throughout both countries, meeting with stakeholders in the flats fishery. He has interviewed people from four sectors: the Fishing Community (fishing guides, lodge owners, tour guides, fishing industry representatives, anglers), Education (researchers, teachers, administrators), Management (administrators and employees of government agencies and co-managers), Conservation (administrators and employees of non-governmental organizations and foundations). Each of the four sectors plays a vital role in the flats fishery and can work to ensure its conservation and sustainable management.

From these interviews, Dr. Perez has established a more complete picture of the threats and needs for effective conservation in Belize and Mexico and is using this information to complete BTT’s new strategic plan. So far, it’s clear that the plan must include goals to address the threats and needs in each of the four sectors. The top threats are: 1) habitat loss, and 2) incidental and target capture from small-scale fisheries. The top needs are: 1) education and awareness; 2) enforcement of current and elaboration of new regulations; 3) planning for economic and human resource needs; 4) collaboration among all four sectors. This new strategic plan will be built from the ground up, with a local focus.

Stay tuned to BTT social media for more details as the strategic plan is put into action.

Photo: Dr. Aaron Adams