Press Release – Belize Press Office

Hicatee – Closed Season

Belmopan, 5th March, 2012. The General Public is hereby advised that the Fisheries Department has increased its enforcement activities to ensure compliance with management and conservation regulations for the Hicatee turtle.

A recent national survey indicates that the population of this freshwater turtle has greatly diminished as a result of unsustainable harvest; hence the need for increased compliance. The public is advised that any person who contravenes the Hicatee regulation commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of two thousand dollars (BZ$2,000) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.

The Hicatee regulations are as follows:

No person shall, in relation to turtles of the species Dermatemys mawaii:

(a) have in his possession more than three such turtles at any one time;
(b) transport on any vehicle more than five such turtles;
(c) fish for such turtles during the period from 1st May to the 31st May inclusive in any year;
(d) fish for females of such turtles greater than 43cm (17.2 in) and smaller than 38cm (15.2 in);
(e) fish for such turtles in any of the areas specified in the Fifth Schedule attached to these Regulations;
(f) sell or purchase such turtles;
(g) Possess or use a net to take Hicatee.

FIFTH SCHEDULE

1. Belize River: Beaver Dam Creek to Labouring Creek.
2. New River: Irish Creek to Water Bank
3. Rio Bravo: Upstream from Dos Bocas Dam, also Booth’s River
4. Cox and Mucklehany Lagoons, headwaters of Mussel Creek
5. Northern and Southern Lagoons and tributaries (Manatee lagoons and Manatee River).

For further details please contact the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries at: Tel: 501-822-2242 or 501-822-2241