Working Towards Sustainable Management of Nassau Groupers in Belize

As part of Green Reef's ongoing efforts to promote awareness, concern and positive action regarding the continual decline of the Nassau grouper fishery in Belize, it hosted a full day workshop in Belize City on Monday June 30th entitled "Working Towards Sustainable Management of Nassau Groupers in Belize." The workshop provided a forum for many concerned persons to receive and discuss historical and current scientific data, perspectives from fisherman who traditionally fish the Nassau grouper spawning aggregations and management options from the Belize Fisheries Department. Presentations were made by Honorable Daniel Silva (Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Cooperative), Dr. Jacque Carter (Wildlife Conservation Society), Omar Arceo (San Pedro Town Board), Alfonso Nunez (Hopkins Fisherman), Dr. Enric Sala (Wildlife Conservation Society), Mito Paz (Green Reef), Beverly Wade (Belize Fisheries Department) and Brian Luckhurst (Bermuda Department of Agriculture and Fisheries).

Following these sessions which briefed all attending on the current status of the fishery, a panel-lead discussion provided a means which all attendees were able to voice their opinion regarding the need for urgent management and also alternatives for fisherman who rely on the income that fishing the Nassau grouper aggregations provides. In order to more fully review the possible options and develop consensus among all user groups, NGO's and the Fisheries Department, the idea of a Spawning Aggregation Working Group was developed.

Reef Brief is a weekly column published in the San Pedro Sun
Members nominated to sit on this working group include Green Reef, The Nature Conservancy, Beverly Wade and Dwight Neal (Belize Fisheries Department), National Fisherman's Co-op, Caribena Co-op, Alfonso Nunez, Placencia Co-op, BTB, BTIA, TIDE and a representative from the fishing community in Punta Gorda. Terms of Reference outlining the actions that the working group work towards and a time frame for action were established that allow consultations, public review and further discussion to occur before the December and January spawning moons.

Green Reef is confident that this working group will provide the means by which to assure full participation of all stakeholders so that whatever management measures that are suggested and implemented are those that are the most effective for protecting the Nassau groupers while keeping the interests of fisherman in high priority.

For more information on Green Reef please contact us at (email: [email protected] or telephone us at 226-2833.

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