In some parts of the world, manatees are endangered species. Belize enjoys a healthy manatee population, but mariners who speed along the coast and mangrove regularly come into contact with the mammal. The Sea to Shore Alliance and the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute have been recording deaths caused by boat collisions. The organizations have decided to hold a two-day workshop with over eighty tour guides to build awareness on the specie and how to engage the manatee in coastal waters.
Jamal Galves, Manatee Research Associate, Sea to Shore Alliance/CZMAI
“The workshop is to address the increase in mortally rate at the Belize River mouth. The project that I won the conservation award; this is part of the funds on that project. Our key audience was the tour operators that use that area. So we sent out an extended invitation to majority of the tour operators as well as the people that want to learn more on manatee in that area. we had tour operators like Cruise Solutions, Chukka, Ecological Tours—just to name a few. The turnout was surprising; we had eighty-nine people registered in the two days. We had over seventy odd attendants. I was impressed with the attendants and how the people react.”
Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry, Fishers and Sustainable Development
“I think it’s always important to create awareness about what the role of everyone in our society is in ensuring that we protect our manatees and this is one that is being carried out by the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute under the responsibility of Jamal Galvez, who won the conservation leadership award that has made this activity possible. It is especially important to create awareness within the tourism sector and especially those at the frontline who are the tour guides on the ground and coming in contact with manatees.”
“From what I’ve seen majority of the tour operators and tour guides and boat captains have assured me that they will try to practice—since they are aware of the situation—try and practice good boating skills noh.”
Since the beginning of the year, two manatee deaths have been recorded due to collisions at sea.