Congratulations to our 2020 Ocean Heroes, Neville Smith and Lowell "Japs" Godfrey
Lowell ‘Japs’ Godfrey was born and raised in the popular Southern village of Placencia, where he has been fishing for over forty years. Once a traditional commercial fisherman, Godfrey is now one of the pioneers of seaweed farming in Belize. During his decades as a commercial fisher, he has witnessed first hand the decline in fishery stock over the years as well as the destructive nature of gillnets, a realization that prompted his transition to seaweed farming. Now, over ten years later, as the Chairman of the Placencia Producers Cooperative, Godfrey has propelled the seaweed farming industry to the forefront of Belize’s marine conservation initiatives. A globally recognized trainer for seaweed mariculture in Belize, Japs continues to educate himself and others on best marine practices, as he lives doing what he loves while protecting Belize’s natural resources.
Born and bred in Southern Belize, Neville Smith’s journey as a lover of the sea, began when he was only nine years old. Growing up between Dangriga and Punta Gorda, Neville inevitably found himself in the world of commercial fishing. A fisher for over twenty years, Smith has also worked as a tour guide for more than fifteen of those years. Now firmly rooted in Punta Gorda, Smith hosts educational trips for youths, teaching many of them to swim, and all of them to appreciate and value Belize’s bountiful marine resources. During each trip he takes out, whether it is an educational trip or a tour, he also always has a beach cleanup. Neville continues to host countless cleanup campaigns throughout Punta Gorda and he continues to work within his community to ensure that others will be able to experience the beauty and bounty of the Caribbean Sea he grew up exploring and loving.