SPTGA New Office - New Projects

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 50            December 20, 2001

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Alex Noralez at the new SPTGA office

It has been some time now since the San Pedro Tourist Guide Association (SPTGA) office moved to its new location, situated at the corner of Barrier Reef Drive and Caribeña Street. It may be news to some though that it will serve as both the main office for the association and as the San Pedro branch of the Belize Credit Union.  

    Office Administrator Alex Noralez told the San Pedro Sun that the office is used as the main headquarters for over 250 members of the SPTGA. The office is also instrumental in facilitating and arranging the necessary seminars and instruction required for tour guides obtaining their license. SPTGA is also responsible for recommending dive shops for licenses after a thorough review by their Board of Directors.

    One of the latest projects, spearheaded by the SPTGA in conjunction with Robert Davidson a visitor from the USA, is the Fish Aggregation Device (FAD). It has long been known that pelagic (ocean) fishes will aggregate to floating objects like logs, nets and other debris. However, these objects drift around and may only be occasionally encountered by lucky fishermen. Researchers have found that anchoring a buoy or platform in the open ocean will also attract and hold pelagic fishes, although whether the fish are attracted to the anchored FADs for the same reason they are to natural drifting objects is not yet known. What does a FAD look like? The State of Hawaii's Fish Aggregation Device Program utilizes two types of FADs: surface and subsurface. Surface FADs using a catenary mooring method to anchor them have an average life expectancy of about three to four years, depending on sea and weather conditions. Subsurface FADs tend to last longer (five to six years) because of decreased tugging on the mooring line. They are also less likely to be run over by ships. However, because they are beneath the surface, they also tend to be harder for fisherman to locate.

    On Sunday, December 16th, Mr. Robert Davidson, Billy Leslie and other members of the SPTGA deployed several of these FADS approximately ten miles beyond the Barrier Reef. The SPTGA feels that the benefits of this project are tremendous and will help (1) Commercial Fishing - of fish that are rarely caught by fishermen (pelagic fish). (2) Sport Fishing - as an aid to catching more fish that are usually passing by. (3) Restaurant - providing businesses a variety of seafood choices. (4) Science - as an area to catch fish to use for scientific purposes.

    It is expected that more of these FADs will be deployed in the near future. Anyone wishing to contact the SPTGA office may do so by calling 026-2391.

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