The Belize Federation of Fishers and the Department of Fisheries are training fishermen for deep-sea fishing. The training is a part of a project being implemented over the last year that seeks to show the fishers the gears needed, as well as the practical skills to fish in deep waters. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was at today’s training and has more on the deep-sea fishing initiative.
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
Deep-sea fishing takes place at a depth of at least thirty meters – it is a form of fishing that allows fishermen to catch large game fish that cannot usually be caught in shallower waters. It requires specific pieces of equipment and skills – and so fishermen in Belize are training to take on deep –sea fishing as an alternative source of livelihood.
Nigel Martinez, Director, Belize Federation of Fishers
“We have indicated that deep sea is going to be an alternative for when the lobster season is closed. So, today is going to provide our members under our association, with the ability to venture into deep sea fishing. Currently, majority of the guys fish in the main reef and what we are trying to do now is to provide an alternative, as I indicated earlier. We have partnered with the Fisheries Department who is going to be conducting the workshop today. And they have indicated to us that there is a huge stock in deep sea.”
There are a few fishermen who have been doing deep-sea fishing in Belize – like Dale Fairweather. While it required a big investment, Fairweather says it has paid off for him, since he started ten years ago.
Dale Fairweather, Vice-Chairman, Belize Federation of Fishers
“To me it is even easier because it is where the fish they hook themselves. It is not that hard. You don’t have to be there to try to catch the fish – the fish will catch themselves.”
“And this has proven to be worthwhile for you; in terms of the investments you have put in you have been able to see returns?”
“Yes you could see good enough returns and something that I think can help you with your income because you will make more money because when the lobster season is closed you have an alternative to lobster and conch.In Belize it is kinda expensive and I think that is one of the setbacks for fishers. You need the fish finder, you need the gps and the fishing gears and it is a couple thousand dollars.”
The deep sea fishing training is two-fold; theory and practice. Participating fishermen will put their knowledge to test on Friday when they go out to sea for the practical component. There has been a demand from local fishers to engage in this type of fishing.
“It entails going out on the high sea or the blue as we call it and then we would fish for deep water snook or deep slope snapper as we call it. Some of the gears that we have over there we would make the gears – you have ten hooks on each and then we set them at intervals in the ocean and then after an hour you pull them in and take off the fish and then you would re-set them again until the day is done.”
“Our members have been asking for this for quite some time. So, the training today is for us to show them that we are very much interested in exploring what deep sea fishing is all about here in Belize.”