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BTT Presents on Conservation Needs for Belize’s Flats Fishery

                                       Dr. Addiel Perez and Belizean fly-fishing guide Omar Arceo. Photo: The San Pedro Sun

Dr. Aaron Adams, BTT’s Director of Science and Conservation, and Dr. Addiel Perez, BTT’s Belize-Mexico Program Coordinator, recently spent four days informing Belizean communities of the results of BTT’s assessment of the flats fishery and sharing examples of BTT’s work throughout the region. They gave presentations to a mix of people involved in the flats fishery, including fishing guides, anglers, resource managers, university students, and interested citizens.

Dr. Adams’ presentation, “The Many Challenges to Coastal Conservation in the Caribbean Sea,” focused on the big picture: the interaction of fisheries, habitat, degradation, water quality, development and poor management. He cited examples from Florida, the Bahamas, and Cuba, including the environmental and health issues associated with the sugar industry in Florida and poor development planning. He pointed out how lessons learned from these areas can help conservation efforts in Belize.

Dr. Perez presented on the holistic approach used to inform BTT’s flats fishery conservation strategy for Belize and Mexico. He reviewed the findings from the 6-month evaluation of the flats fishery. As stated in previous blog posts, the findings indicate large gaps in information and lack of enforcement. These are symptoms of larger and numerous deficiencies that reflect a need for education, and collaboration across the fishery’s four main sectors: education, management (governmental and non-governmental), tourism and conservation. Dr. Perez also talked about the need for inclusion of Mexico in a bi-national strategy for the management, conservation, and sustainability of shared resources.

He also presented BTT’s Bi-national Flats Fishery Conservation Strategy for Belize and Mexico. BTT’s strategy is comprised of research, education and conservation, which builds upon BTT’s work in  Florida and the Bahamas. We will use research to inform education, which will then be used to inform Belizeans and resource managers about the importance of the fishery and coastal habitats. The end-goal is to ensure an ecologically healthy coastal ecosystem and fishery, which has important social and economic benefits. Click here for more information.

The BTT presentations were conducted in San Pedro (Ambergris Caye), Belize City, Punta Gorda, and at the University of Belize from September 30 through October 3, 2019. Click here to read the article about the presentations in The San Pedro Sun.

We thank the participants in the presentations:

The San Pedro Sun, San Pedro Association, Kids in Action, Cayo Frances, Ramon’s Village, San Pedro Tour Guide Association, Blue Bonefish, GoFish Belize, Ambergris Sunset Hotel, Tres Pescados Fly, Omar’s Free Lance Fishing, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Belize Fisheries Department, Coastal Zone Authority and Institute, Belize River Lodge, Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association, Wildlife Conservation Society, Belize Fame Fish Association, Belize Sport Fishing Association, University of Belize, Belize Tourism Industry Association-Toledo, Toledo Institute for Development & Environment, Garbutt’s Marine and Fishing Lodge, Oceana-P.G. Toledo Tour Guide Association and Southern Eco Adventures Dive and Fishing Tours.

A special thanks to sponsors:

Belize River Lodge and El Pescador Lodge and Villas