The Flats Fishery of Belize Needs Your Help!

BlackadorCayeDespite being part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, there is a real chance that a mangrove island called Blackadore Cay, near San Pedro, will be developed as an “eco-resort”. Not only will the development greatly damage the Cay, but also impact the surrounding flats – including creating a fishing exclusion zone. If this development is approved, it will negatively impact the local flats fishery and will set a dangerous precedent threatening flats habitats throughout the country. The local fishing guides and lodges are opposed to this proposed development and have asked for our help. Please read the talking points below and let your voice be heard by signing the petition that is linked at the bottom of this post.

  • The flats fishery of Belize has an annual economic impact exceeding $100 million Belize Dollars.
  • The flats fishery is entirely catch and release. In fact, due to the high economic impact of the fishery, the Belize legislature made bonefish, tarpon, and permit catch and release only.
  • Research has shown that the flats species have high survival rates after release, which means that the fishery is sustainable.
  • The flats fishery is also culturally important. For example, the job of flats fishing guide is frequently passed along through generations within a family. These multiple generations of fishing guides depend upon access to healthy habitats for their livelihoods.
  • The flats fishery is already under threat. At the November 2014 National Flats Fishing Summit, flats fishing guides identified the top threats to the fishery: lack of enforcement, loss of habitat, and illegal netting.

The proposed Blackadore Caye development poses a significant threat to the flats fishery of Belize for the following reasons:

  • CRW_3013The development will cause habitat degradation, which will negatively impact the fishery. In fact, with habitat loss and degradation already a top threat to the fishery, the proposed Blackadore development adds to an already worrisome situation.
  • Blackadore is within a protected zone as part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. To propose development of a marine protected zone is ludicrous. This not only has local implications, it has national implications. If the Blackadore development is approved, this sets a dangerous precedent that calls into question the safety of other protected areas, and thus the future of the flats fishery throughout Belize.
  • One of the important characteristics of the flats fishery is that flats guides are able to access all waters in pursuit of fish. This right is threatened by the proposed development, which aims to exclude Belizeans from the waters around the island. This leads not only to a loss of available habitats for fishing guides, but also negatively impacts the cultural heritage of the fishermen.
  • The proposed Blackadore development needs to be denied. It is an example of everything that threatens the future of the economically and culturally important and sustainable flats fishery

Sign the Petition: https://www.change.org/p/government-of-belize-leonardo-dicaprio-living-future-institute-department-of-environment-neac-blackadore-caye-stop-the-overwater-structures-protect-the-environment-public-access

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