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.