I want to know where it will end ?
The fifth annual Ride to the Reef was another sensational success, with more than a 100 cyclists making the 50 mile journey from the capital to the coast to show their love with our marine resources. #BelizesaidNo #toloveandprotectBelize #Belize
Each year, local ‘reef-minded’ organizations come together to celebrate Belize’s national resource, the Belize Barrier Reef through a week-long celebration, known as Reef Week Belize. This year’s Reef Week officially launched on March 9th, 2018, under the theme: "Our reef rocks! Protect it. Don't neglect it!"
This year also marks the International Year of the Reef. To celebrate this and our recent conservation successes, the Reef Week Belize committee kicked off the week with... our Launch event: Year of the Reef Declaration.
At the launch event, the conservation community, the Belize Network of NGO's, the Belize Council of Churches and educational and country leaders signed onto our Year of the Reef Declaration.This document underscores each community member’s commitment to support efforts in green policies, single-use plastic reduction, sustainable fishing practices, environmental research and sustainable development.
In commemoration of the sixth anniversary People's Referendum in which 96% of participants voted no to offshore oil in Belize, we take a look back at our Rock the Reef concert in celebration of the People's Law! We can't say "thank you" enough to all the Belizeans who have consistently stood up to be counted on this issue, and whose unwavering dedication and support have gotten us to this point. #BelizeSaidNo #PeoplePower #toloveandprotectBelize
❤️🇧🇿Sharing this message on behalf of our friends at Sea to Shore Alliance; please help if you can.
For the past couple of days we have been trying to encourage a group of 34 including 2 calf stranded False Killer Whale back into deeper waters. If sighted please report their location to the Fisheries Department phone number 224-4552 or Sea to Shore Alliance 6153838. 🐳
Please be reminded that these whales are a protected species and any form of harassment can be punishable. ❤️🇧🇿
False killer whales, Pseudorca crassidens (Owen, 1846), receive their name for their resemblance to Orcinus orca. "Pseudes" in Greek means false. Like its namesake, they are dolphins, not whales, and the fourth-largest member of the Delphinidae family. #Belize #toloveandprotectBelize #falsekillerwhales
Belize City, Belize. This is a central issue with indiscriminate gear: it does not provide for the live release of specimens that should be released like protected species or pregnant sharks. Mommy shark died in a gillnet. Sustainable fisheries means having enough left to keep the fishery going. If we wipe out the ones trying to keep the fishery alive, what future can there be? Unlike most fish, sharks are K-selected reproducers — meaning they produce a small number of well-d...eveloped young as opposed to a large number of poorly developed young. Pregnancy length can vary greatly by species, ranging between 9 months to as long as 3 years. It’s time to stop the nets. The 169 fishers (the more than 2500 other commercially licensed Belizean fishers don’t use gillnets) who use gillnets can be supported to different gear to ensure that they can fish forever. Sharks are one of the keystone species that determine the health of the entire ecosystem. #Belize #stopthenets #plentyofwaystocatchfish #plentyofwaystocatchfish Belize Game Fish Association MarAlliance
In 2015, Oceana produced a documentary about the use of gillnets in Belizean waters. Since 1997, Belizean fishermen have been asking regulators to disallow gillnets given their indiscriminate and destructive nature. The Government of Belize has just announced the formation of a task force comprised of government, non-governmental and fisherfolk to review all options, including that of a complete ban, on the use of gillnets in Belizean waters. We share this documentary so you ...can hear how Belizean fishers feel about this gear. It must be made clear that the 167 (one hundred and sixty seven) Belizeans who are licensed to use gillnets in Belizean waters can be transitioned to "cleaner" fishing gear. The reality is that it is only fair that the 2716 (two thousand seven hundred and sixteen) commercial fishermen and the more than 2000 (two thousand) sports fishers enjoy the same right to feed their families with dignity; the use of destructive gear like gillnets takes that right away from all fishers. #Belize #toloveandprotectBelize #stopthenets
In 2015, Oceana produced a documentary to highlight the main issues concerning gillnet use. This is the trailer; the full documentary will also be posted. Please take the time to listen to the Belizean fishermen. In February 2018, the Government of Belize has announced that a task force will be appointed to address the use of this fishing gear in Belizean waters, something Belizean fishermen have been asking for since 1997. #Belize #toloveandprotectBelize #stopthenets
This was the scene on February 16th 2015. Three years later, the appointment of a Task Force represents the most significant move in more than two decades to address the use of gillnets in Belizean waters. Belizean fishermen are aware of the impact these nets have to commercial species, protected species and ecologically important species. With support, the 167 Belizean fishers who engage in gillnet fishing during certain times of the year can transition to “clean” gear to ensure that national efforts to maintain sustainable fisheries practices are not undermined from within. And given that many of the illegal fishers use gillnets, moving away from this gear will make enforcement much easier. #Belize #stopthenets #toloveandprotectBelize Belize Game Fish Association MarAlliance
DEATH OF RARE SHARK HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR GILLNET BAN
Scalloped hammerhead drowns in Hopkins fisherman’s gillnet
The death of a rarely seen Scalloped Hammerhead (...Sphyrna lewini) in the waters off Hopkins village after it became entangled in a gillnet, highlights the need to transition away from this destructive fishing gear. According to Oceana Belize’s investigations into the incident, the approximately 8’ Hammerhead swam into a gill net placed in the shallow waters on the north end of the village. By the time the fisherman pulled up his net on Sunday, February 15th, the shark had already drowned.
Once a common sight in Belizean waters, the Scalloped Hammerhead is today classified as a species endangered with extinction. Globally, it is estimated that in the last 30 years, the population of scalloped hammerhead sharks have declined by more than 95%. Known as “walls of death”, destructive gear such as gillnets and activities such as finning contribute to this staggering reality faced by shark species like the Scalloped Hammerhead.
Sharks are at the top of the food chain in every ocean and as such play a crucial role in the maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems. “Sharks have been swimming in the sea for more than 400 million years,” says Oceana Belize’s Vice President Janelle Chanona. “It is truly saddening that in our generation alone, so many of these creatures could be wiped out forever.”
Oceana Belize commends the call made by commercial fishermen more than 18 years ago for taking a stand on this issue by asking for a legal transition away from gillnets. Sports fishermen also support the ban given the regional experience of collapse of economically important fish stocks such as tarpon, bonefish, snook and permit as a result of gillnets. According to local sports fishermen, every year, sports fishing contributes more than 100 million dollars to the Belizean economy and employs more than two thousand Belizeans. “From a sustainable management angle and an economic standpoint, gillnets have no place in Belizean waters. A ban of this gear is an important step towards responsible fishing methods.”
Gillnets are still classified as legal fishing gear in Belize; all nets must be registered. However, it remains unclear how many Belizeans are strictly gillnet fishermen. It is also clear that a lack of monitoring and enforcement of the regulations governing use of gillnets in Belizean waters by both legal and illegal gillnet fishermen pose serious threat to fish stocks.
Across the world, gill nets are being replaced by “clean” alternative fishing gear because of the severe negative impact nets have on the environment especially as it relates to the bycatch of charismatic species such as dolphins, turtles and even manatees.
GOVERNMENT PRESS RELEASE RE GILLNETS
Taskforce to Develop Improved Measures to Reduce Harmful Effects of Gill Nets on Marine Life. Belmopan, (15th February 2018).
The Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development will commission a participatory taskforce comprising government agencies, non-government organizations, private sector partners, and fishermen to recommend improved measures to minimize the harmful effects of gill nets on marine creatu...res. The initiative was approved at Tuesday’s sitting of the Cabinet.
A gill net is a wall-like mesh that hangs in the water column designed to catch fish by allowing only their head to get through the net, thereby entrapping them by the gills. The main concern over gill nets is that they are efficient at trapping and killing both target and non-target fish species, such as undersized sharks and protected species like tarpon and permit.
There are various types of gill nets with varying mesh sizes, and some are more indiscriminate in the types of fish they catch than others. While gill nets are used locally by artisanal fishers or small-scale fishers who obtain permits, there is also extensive opportunistic use by illegal fishers, which causes widespread harm and over-exploitation including inside protected marine ecosystems. For this reason the use of gill nets is regulated in Belize and other countries, and use of certain types and sizes of gill nets are prohibited in some locations and at certain times of the year. The regulations, and the scope and area of use of gill nets in Belizean waters will be given careful consideration, including the option of a total ban.
The taskforce will examine implementable actions for greater monitoring and enforcement, which is necessary to bring effect to improved measures to limit the harmful side-effects of gill net use on marine creatures.
For immediate release.
These are the stories that should make us feel even more proud given the offshore oil moratorium...and it should motivate us to ensure that we are ready to handle other maritime incidents that can be devastating to fisheries and tourism. #Belize #BelizeSaidNo #toloveandprotectBelize
The Reef Week Belize Instagram contest is underway! It’s the time to submit your photo(s) or video(s) to showcase the 2018 theme: Our Reef Rocks! Protect it! Don’t Neglect it! To submit your entry for the Reef Week Instagram Contest, you must simply:
Tag Oceana Belize’s Instagram page (@oceana_bze) to original photos and videos that showcase the theme of Reef Week Belize 2018: “Our Reef Rocks! Protect it! Don’t Neglect it!”
Show us an example of a before and after “change” ...you’re making in your community to positively impact Belize's economically important marine resources (see video for examples).
Include the hashtags #beliefinthereef #reefweek2018
Follow the official Oceana Belize Instagram page: @oceana_bze
Send the original jpeg photo or video to email@example.com with a brief description of the photo or video. All photos or videos must be original material and must be free of any watermarks.
Entrants must be legal residents of Belize. The photo or video found by the selection committee to be the most creative, likable, and novel in showcasing the theme will be declared the winner. By submitting photo(s) or video(s), entrant affirmatively indicates acknowledgment and acceptance of these Official Rules and all other terms and conditions governing the Contest. Oceana began accepting submissions on February 9th, 2018, and the eligibility period will end at noon on March 8th, 2018. No purchase necessary to participate or win. This contest will be hosted solely on the Oceana in Belize (“Host”) Instagram page and advertised on the Host’s Instagram and Facebook pages. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram. The official rules are listed on the Oceana Belize website and Facebook page, accessible via the link in the Oceana Belize Instagram bio.
#Belize #toloveandprotectBelize Joyjah Madison Pearl Twig and Pearl
Corozal community - this love month let's celebrate "love for self, community and the environment!" See you at the 2nd annual Love Fair being hosted in partnership with Department of Youth Services Corozal. #toloveandprotectBelize Contact Ryan Rivera for more information.
Corozal - "LOVE FAIR" - Oceana Belize and Department of Youth Services present the second annual Love Fair. Wednesday, February 14th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.... at the Corozal Central Park. There will be information booths from different organizations, promoting Love for self, community and the environment. We will be having free raffles with the grand prize of a romantic dinner for two at RD's Diner.
Proud sponsors are RD's Diner, Dave's Photo studio and rentals, Happy Cow Cheese (Emilio Ahmad and Sons) , Racks Snacks, Dalla Sign Pawn Shop, and Corozal Town Council.
Due to several calls and messages of concern, please note that the Oil Spill Workshop being coordinated by the Department of Environment next week is to address the national response (capacity) to handle incidents at land and sea. The marine incident scenarios include incidents of ship collision (with other ships as well as the Belize Barrier Reef); the exportation of crude (from the onshore production) as well as the importation of refined fuel products..., all of which can result in devastating pollution. Offshore oil exploration and extraction is not on the agenda given the passage of the offshore oil moratorium legislation, which became law on December 30th 2017. We thank you for your vigilance and commit to updating you in this regard. Oceana will be one of the observers at the workshop on February 5th-6th. Our collective leadership and continued vigilance will ensure the stability and sustainability of our collective future. #Belize #toloveandprotectBelize #BelizesaidNo Picture: Glover’s Reef Atoll in her glory.
Enforcing fisheries laws is an important factor to ensure sustainability of the sea as a source of food and livelihoods. Unless properly addressed, illegal fishing and destructive fishing gear will continue to undermine Belize's management efforts.
Kudos to the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) team and the Belize National Coast Guard for their continued efforts to curb illegal fishing.
Two Guatemalan fishermen caught fishing illegally in southern Belize.
Park rangers of the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment along with personnel ...of the Belize Coast Guard arrested two Guatemalans who were fishing illegally near the Rio Grande in southern Belize. The fishermen tried to escape, but the patrol team was equipped and motivated to apprehend them. The two fishers had no documents for fishing in Belize and fished with illegal fishing gear within the marine reserve (over 2 miles of long lines with 400 hooks in water and additional long lines with 413 hooks in their possession.)
Today, the men were arraigned in the Punta Gorda Town Magistrate’s court and were read the following charges and fines:
1. Use of long lines within Port Honduras Marine Reserve - $1500 plus $5. court fee
2. Vessel without distinguishing marks - $1000. per person plus $5. court fee
3. Fishing without fisher-folk license - $500. each plus $5. court fee
4. No boat license - $500. each plus $5. court fee
Total charges per person: $3,520.00
Joint charges: $7040.00
Failure to pay results in 2 years imprisonment
The fishing vessel and all equipment on vessel was forfeited. There are also immigration offenses that the Belize Immigration Dept. is expected to pursue later this week.
As a co-manager of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve with the Belize Fisheries Department, TIDE reminds all fishers to adhere to the Belize fishing regulations and to be stewards of our marine resources. TIDE also commends its marine park rangers and the Belize Coast Guard for being vigilant and brave in protecting Belize’s marine resources for current and future generations.