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Shark fishers help scientists monitor shark activity in Belize

Posted: Sunday, June 9, 2024. 2:22 am CST.

By Horace Palacio: Belizean fishers are playing a crucial role in marine conservation efforts by teaming up with scientists to monitor shark activity in the Caribbean Sea. This collaborative initiative, facilitated by the conservation nonprofit Fishers4Science, aims to ensure the sustainability of shark species in the region while providing local fishers with a sustainable income.

Hector Martinez, a shark fisher with the Shark Fishers Association in Belize, highlights the importance of this partnership in protecting sharks and preserving the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem. Traditionally, Belizean fishers have relied on shark fishing for their livelihood, with a significant portion of their catch being exported to Guatemala.

However, concerns about overfishing and the need for scientific data on shark populations have led to this innovative collaboration. Researchers are now paying shark fishers to collect valuable information on shark behavior, migration patterns, and population dynamics. This data is essential for developing effective conservation strategies and ensuring the long-term survival of these apex predators.

The collaboration not only benefits the scientific community but also empowers local fishers by providing them with alternative income sources and recognizing their valuable knowledge of the marine environment. By working together, scientists and fishers can achieve a shared goal of protecting the ocean’s biodiversity and ensuring the sustainability of marine resources for future generations.

 

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