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BTT Works With Partners to Determine Effects of Pollution on Fish Populations in Corozal-Chetumal Bay

Shallow flats of Corozal Bay, Belize.

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s Belize-Mexico Initiative seeks to identify and address threats to the region’s flats fishery. To this end, Belize-Mexico Initiative Coordinator Dr. Addiel Perez, began collaborating in 2021 with colleagues from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) in Mexico, and the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD) in Belize, to determine how pollution has impacted the fish populations in the Corozal-Chetumal Bay, shared by both countries. The scientific information that the coalition gathers will be shared with the bay’s resource managers.

Corozal-Chetumal Bay is a large coastal water body that connects the Hondo River and New River with the estuarine and marine environments, eventually reaching the Caribbean Sea. The question of how urban and rural activities along the rivers and bay is affecting fish is critically important to artisanal and recreational sport fisheries of both countries.

The study forms part of Katerine Palacio’s master’s dissertation under the direction of Dr. Juan J. Schmitter-Soto. The information will shed light on the present health of the ecosystem and help inform management decisions that address habitat and water quality challenges. It’s this type of international collaboration that is essential to regional conservation.

This work is being completed with the assistance of Jemael Verde and Reynel Blanco from SACD.

Left to right: Dr. Juan J. Schmitter-Soto (ECOSUR), Honorio Santos (SACD), Dr. Addiel Perez (BTT), Katerine Palacio (ECOSUR).
Sampling fish in Corozal-Chetumal Bay.
Juvenile jack.