In Placencia Village, a loose coalition of people is finding new ways to make a living from nature while protecting their long-held way of life.

"A sudden splash breaks the warm silence of the lagoon. As soon as the net touches the surface, Emelly Miralda starts pulling it in at a fast but steady pace. A glittering mass of sardines emerges from the water, some of them tangled in the mesh, others flopping violently.

"She loosens the net and a downpour of silver fish falls inside the small boat. A barracuda the size of her leg already lies lifeless on the floor. "Her husband thrusts a long stick into the lagoon to keep the boat still. Three of their four children, chins and cheeks cupped in their hands, watch closely as their mother frees the few remaining fish from the net. A 10-month-old baby sleeps in a cradle. “Only a female can do this,” she brags with a grin.

"Miralda hopes to teach her kids how to fish one day—it’s a skill and a way of life she fears will become more difficult as illegal fishing, climate change, and unchecked tourism continue to hurt fish and coral populations. As she talks, Miralda sets aside a few sardines to use later as bait."

Read the full story from " Eyes on the Water in Belize" in the World Wildlife Magazine, Summer 2016 issue linked HERE.