Photos courtesy: Dasha Shivers/ Ray Caye Island Resort
By BBN Staff: Oceana Belize today informed that this morning, tour guides diving within the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve found 450 feet of gillnets strung out along the north wall (one net was 400 feet long with another 50-foot net attached to it).
The dive instructors took the nets and bycatch back to Ray Caye where they measured the nets and counted the bycatch in the presence of two Coast Guard officers on patrol with two rangers of Southern Environmental Association (SEA).
Current regulations are that a gillnet should be no longer than 300 feet and should not be attached to another net.
Belizean law already prohibits the use of gillnets within Marine Protected Areas.
Oceana says that this highlights the challenges of regulating and enforcing this type of gear.
“As a nation, we cannot afford to have illegal fishing activities destroy our food security and our fishing based and tourism livelihoods. Oceana reiterates its commitment to supporting licensed Belizean fishers transition away from this gear. It’s time to #stopthenets,” the statement ended.