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#17259 - 10/13/03 03:20 PM Whale shark sanctuary established in Belize
Marty Offline

Whale shark sanctuary established in Belize

Over 3,000 acres of ocean around Little Water Caye Island in south-east Belize is to be set aside as sanctuary for whale sharks.

The area is known to divers as the only predictable gathering point for whale sharks, and is an important breeding ground for many species of reef fish.

The protected area is being set up by a Friends of Nature, a Belize-based conservation organisation, funded by Conservation International. Dr Sylvia Earle is Executive Director of Conservation International's Global Marine Programme, and she welcomed the establishment of the sanctuary as a way of protecting not just the whale sharks but also an important area for biodiversity "As we hear stories about the precipitous declines of fish populations around the world it becomes even more critical to protect these unique places." She said.

The marine sanctuary was set up by purchasing a majority share of Little Water Caye Island, and the plan is to work with local communities to develop a sustainable income from eco-friendly tourism. This is good news for divers, making it possible to visit the whale sharks with operators who are committed to avoiding causing disturbance to the creatures; while the income from this activity is being used to manage the protection of the marine environment.

"The local communities that founded Friends of Nature were the first to discover the rare whale sharks that congregate in the area and became determined to protect them. By promoting marine education in the local schools and supporting eco-friendly tourism, they have set an example for how conservation, local communities and responsible travel can work in harmony to save the marine environment." Explained Costas Christ, Senior Director of Conservation International's Ecotourism Programme.

#17260 - 10/13/03 03:47 PM Re: Whale shark sanctuary established in Belize
klcman Offline
please tell me the cruise shippers can't get there!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman

#17261 - 10/13/03 04:10 PM Re: Whale shark sanctuary established in Belize
bywarren Offline
I believe the local fisherman new about the whale sharks long before Friends of Nature was ever around. And, I did not know they needed protecting until the likes of Friends of Nature found out they could make money off of taking people out to dive with them thus harassing them. confused

It is also a little suspicious to me that one of the first "regulations" proposed by Friends of Nature would only allow those licensed by Friends of Nature to do whale shark trips. Sounds a little self serving to me.

#17262 - 10/13/03 08:55 PM Re: Whale shark sanctuary established in Belize
Mel S Offline
It's nice to see another area being protected, but why couldn't the Belizean Gov. make it into a National Park ?
Mel Sinderman

#17263 - 10/13/03 09:21 PM Re: Whale shark sanctuary established in Belize

#17264 - 10/14/03 12:40 AM Re: Whale shark sanctuary established in Belize
bywarren Offline
It's nice to see another area being protected, but why couldn't the Belizean Gov. make it into a National Park ?
Mel S: please do not take this as me picking on what you said. Your statement and question are good. I would just hope that people would look deeper for solutions and question actions to be sure they accomplish the desired results.
The area being "protected" is a traditional fishing grounds for Belize fishermen. There are families that have made their livelyhood, and still make their livelyhood, fishing these waters. I am not aware of any scientific study that has been done to determine the viability of that fishery. When other fisheries have been studied and found to be declining, there have been quotas and limits put on the harvesting. To make a determination that this fishery is in such dyer shape that it must go from a fishery to a protected area overnight seems unfounded and unfair to the fishermen. And to use the logic that it is being done to protect the whale sharks, whose only threat other than killer whales is the harassment by man, and then propose the expansion of that harassment under the eco-tourism lable seems of questionable logic to me.
I by no meens attempt to represent myself as any authority on this. I would much prefer to have a true scientific study be made by those trained for that. But, I have fished and dived that area for over 25 years and have been there almost every year during the months of April and May when the whale sharks appear. The only major change I have noticed is the proliferation of dive boats the last three years bring people to dive with the whale sharks.
Just my thoughts in an attempt to get people to look a little deeper (that is a pun, diving with whale sharks, deeper) smile

#17265 - 10/14/03 04:21 AM Re: Whale shark sanctuary established in Belize
Mel S Offline
No problem Bywarren, actually I agree with you. I am a lifetime Fisherman and hunter. Of course, I always believe in conservation. You always need good sound qoutas on fish, and game. The whalesharks should be completely protected. It could have been a National Park, with sensible fishing permits. Best-Wishes, Mel
Mel Sinderman

#17266 - 10/14/03 12:56 PM Re: Whale shark sanctuary established in Belize
bywarren Offline
Mel S: you are a man after my own heart (and logic). smile

PS: we are not far apart in the summer. I have a home in Mountain Home, AR where I spend my summers.

#17267 - 10/14/03 02:04 PM Re: Whale shark sanctuary established in Belize
Mel S Offline
Originally posted by bywarren:
Mel S: you are a man after my own heart (and logic). smile

PS: we are not far apart in the summer. I have a home in Mountain Home, AR where I spend my summers.
We live ten miles north from Springfield, Mo. on the road to Stockton Lake. You live in a beautiful area nestled into the white river system. A 4-weight and a fly-box of micronymphs on a trout streams almost makes my cry of happiness. Have A Good One Sir, Mel.
Mel Sinderman

#17268 - 10/14/03 07:48 PM Re: Whale shark sanctuary established in Belize
Badco Offline
Hi, I am new to this board but wanted to note that my family is from the Mountian Home, Cotter, Arkansas area, and my dad lives in Springfield now. It's a small world.

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