Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2019. 10:58 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: A new report documents the usage and looming threats of gillnet usage in Belizean waters.
“Net Loss or Net Gain? Gillnet Use in Belizean Waters”, a study commissioned by the Turneffe Atoll Trust and Yellow Dog Community and Conservation Foundation, finds that a phased ban on gillnet usage will help restore depleted fish stocks and address other issues.
Just 3 percent of Belize’s registered fishers – about 80 of more than 2,500 – use gillnets, mainly in the south and Belize City. An undetermined number of Guatemalan and Honduran fishers use nets for shark fishing in the south.
Gillnet use is regulated by the Fisheries Department but low enforcement leads to catching up protected species and immature animals and ruining the stock.
There is potential with increased surveillance, time closures, a buyback program and use of technology, but presenters conclude that focusing on other means of income and phasing out gillnet use closes the door to illegal and unregulated fishing, which would otherwise hurt the economy and risking our fishing and Tourism sector.
A ban is already in place in Placencia and Monkey River.
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