This is a continuation from the topic “beach muggins” that I think is worth further discussion.
When I first came to San Pedro the locals lived off of what they caught in the sea and nothing was off base. They ate manatee, turtle and anything else they thought would taste good. Lobster season was considered closed only for commercial fishing. If you wanted lobster to eat for your family, you caught it whenever. Well, times change and the pressure put on resources require change and new attitudes.
Catch and eat was the moto until visiting fishermen started to hire guides and promote catch and release. Tourist come and want to do good for the people. They bring gifts and donate to causes. Well, you can do a lot of good and it does not cost any extra by insuring that the guide you hire obeys the law, that you are not paying him to break it. The people of Belize are very hospitable and want to make sure you enjoy yourself and, coming from old beliefs, may revert to those old ways of doing things to insure you enjoy yourself. You must take into consideration that the changes needed in these attitudes are a direct result from the increased pressure put on the resources due to more tourists coming. That puts responsibility on the tourist.
I would consider the tourist that allows his hired guide to break the law to be equally, no I would say more responsible for the breaking of the law. You are paying him to do what you are asking. You have every right to tell him exactly what you expect from him.
We visitors to Belize have created opportunities for Belizeans. We have also created problems and increased demand on fragile resources. It does not take much for us to do our part to insure that the laws to protect those resources are not broken for our benefit.