Our communities rely on fishing as a commercial and cultural practice, but that resource is under threat.
Today Oceana published its report on the state of Belize Fisheries for 2020. Most notable is the number of marine life that is currently at risk. According to the report, the goliath grouper has all but disappeared, and spawning aggregations are, quote, "shadows of their former selves."
And on top of that, increasing fishing pressure, both legal and illegal, is beginning to affect other species. The report says, quote, "Some of the larger, mobile shark species in Belize, such as the lemon, blacktip and scalloped and great hammerheads are likely at risk from overfishing. The sea cucumber fishery, which boomed and busted within a few short years, tells a cautionary tale. Even the conch and lobster fisheries are showing warning signs." End quote.
Oceana also notes that there is a need for sound and timely fisheries-related data. And they also mentioned that regular enforcement and consistent monitoring of species composition and size has made it difficult to ascertain the state of Belize's fisheries with a high level of detail and accuracy.
Still, they have prioritized the next steps, and that include improved monitoring, enforcement, and transparency to strengthen fisheries management. There also needs to be enhanced protection of endangered species such as Nassau and Goliath Grouper.Channel 7
In Belize, the fishing industry brings in approximately 28 million BZD per year but not all of its benefits have been quantified; fishing also plays an important role in supporting local livelihoods and nutrition.
Oceana's latest report, State of Belize Fisheries 2020, provides an overview of fisheries in Belize within the overall context of the economic, political and environmental state of the country.For the whole report, CLICK HERE for the 34mb PDF.
Responsible Fishing PSA from OCEANAbz on Vimeo.