Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
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BTT Collaborates with Belizean Co-Managers to Advance Permit Conservation 

Representative of SACD, HCMR, BTT, and the Belize Fisheries Department. Photo: Tom Cawthon

BTT is taking a collaborative approach to permit conservation in Belize by partnering with the co-managers of protected areas and government agencies. Dr. Addiel Perez, BTT’s Belize-Mexico Program Coordinator, recently participated in a new permit tagging project led by the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation (SACD), Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) and the Belize Fisheries Department in northern Belize. The project is using tag-recapture to understand permit movements and the effects of fish traps. As we learn more about permit movements and habitat use (as well as bonefish and tarpon), we learn more about which habitats should be prioritized for protection. Protecting important habitats also benefits the local artisanal subsistence and commercial fishery that uses these same areas.

Since this new collaborative project between SACD, HCMR, BTT, and the Belize Fisheries Department spans the entire northern Belize region rather than only focusing on a particular protected area, the results will improve fisheries and protected area management. This is especially important for fish like permit that require multiple habitats throughout the region to complete their life cycle. Thus, improved management should include better protections for the habitats on which permit depend, and properly managing fish traps to reduce the bycatch capture of permit, which are a catch-and-release species that can’t be harvested. BTT encourages such efforts to continue for the long-term benefit of Belize’s flats fishery and coastal communities.

To learn more, read “Flats Without Borders” in the new issue of BTT Journal.

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