Ban grouper season for five years

Posted By: Marty

Ban grouper season for five years - 11/02/19 10:38 AM

Where have all the mackerels gone, long time passing, Where have all the mackerels gone, long time ago. Where have all the mackerels gone, the gill nets have caught them, every one, O when will they ever learnÖ (from song, Where Have all the Flowers Gone, by Pete Seeger)

This group that is fighting the gill net ban has got to be joking. The only story that has some sense to it was made by a caller to one of the talk shows (I canít remember which one) who said that the reason the Fisheries Department hasnít banned gill nets is that there is a lobby coming out of Guatemala. Ouch.

There is no scientific reason to support gill net use. They have massacred the mackerels and other prized fish for the pot that swim on the surface, and they have done massive damage to the sports fishes. There is no support for continued use of gill nets. It is a practice that should have been done away with more than two decades ago.

This gentleman who argued that gill netting has been done since Jesus days must be in a kind of time capsule because a lot has changed since then. The website www.english-online says there were an estimated 300 million people in the world when Jesus was here. Today, this moment, there are more than 7.5 billion people on the earth. The simple math says there are more than 20 times more people on the earth now. Thatís 20 times the pressure.

The groupers are taking too long to come back. The Fisheries Department has restrictions on the ďgrouper banksĒ, but no maybe about it, they should go for a total ban to give the fish a chance to return to the days of glory.

Of course there will be fisher folk who resist. Heck, I would resist in Camalote too, because every year without fail I dream of going back to Emily. I actually plan, only in my head, for it. Grouper roe is overrated ógood, not the best ó but grouper flesh is ďAĒ class quality. Itís about as good as barracuda in a boil-up, fresh or corned, and itís delicious fried too. My mom used to prepare it like fried chicken. She dipped it in an egg batter, then she rolled it in a bowl with flour, and then, into a pot of hot coconut oil. Ooh!

Yes, itís clockwork that in December I get grouper bank fever. Thereís a simple solution to satisfy the few fisher folk who make some dough off grouper. Nobody is getting rich off that fish because they arenít that many anymore. The Fisheries Department knows who are fishing the banks that are not completely closed and a simple investigation could reveal how much these fisher folk grossed last year off grouper. Take out the cost of fuel, labor, and gear expenses and pay them the profit they would have made.

Our government canít have spent all the Petro Caribe funds on cement streets.

by Colin Hyde for Amandala
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Ban grouper season for five years - 11/02/19 01:17 PM

I must admit Grouper sure are yummy, but if you have ever had a chance to swim with a grouper or a whole school you will also know that they are like puppy dogs that love to be close, play and just simply be next to you. Because they are so friendly and actively seek out man in the sea, they are very easy targets for fishing. In regards to sustainable fishing the biggest issue we have is the fact that even if Belizean fishermen follow the rules we have fishers from our neighboring countries that do not adhere to our rules, even in our waters!

I do not know how we can assist and support our fishing community so that they can afford to not fish certain species for years - but I do know we should look into this and give all of our marine species a chance to repopulate.

I definitely do believe we need to ban gill net fishing. Although it is easier than using other methods, the indiscriminate decimation of all marine life is just not worth allowing this style of fishing to continue. And sure, Guatemalan fishermen want to continue the practice, but we are in Belize, talking about Belizean waters and we do need to support our fishermen - not those of other nations.

Most importantly we must protect our fish stock for generations to come! So if that means extending seasons, adapting our diets, subsidizing true commercial fishermen's livelihoods and banning illness - then my vote is clear yes!
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