From Bonefish & Tarpon Trust:
Belize City, Belize – Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) and the Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute (CZMAI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to identify and implement conservation and protection of coastal and nearshore habitats associated with Belize’s flats fishery.
“Belize is world renowned for its natural treasures, including its vibrant flats fishery,” said BTT President and CEO Jim McDuffie. “BTT is pleased to collaborate with CZMAI on its important mission to ensure the sustainable use of marine resources and ensure wise development in the coastal zone.”
Through the MOU, CZMAI and BTT will collaborate on research and monitoring activities, education and outreach, and capacity building.
“CZMAI welcomes the collaboration with BTT on this initiative of mutual interest. It is critically important for Belize to strengthen and modernize its legal framework to promote sustainable sport fishing fisheries management,” said CZMAI’s CEO Chantalle Samuels.
Research and monitoring will focus on tagging projects related to Belize’s inshore recreational fish species, such as bonefish, tarpon, and permit, as well as studies related to age, growth, reproduction, and genetics of the fish. The organizations will also conduct fish stock and habitat assessments, mapping of Belize’s flat fishing habitats, and studies related to water quality.
CZMAI and BTT will collaborate on activities relating to public engagement and awareness and educational outreach to highlight the many facets of Belize’s economically significant recreational fishing sector. The activities will include the development of a “Best Practice” guide for Belize’s flats fishery, media trips, and community-wide events.
As CZMAI’s partner, BTT will also help strengthen CZMAI’s ability to manage the flats fishery of Belize. This includes coordinating appropriate training opportunities on related topics including habitat health assessments, water quality monitoring, and fish genetics studies. Additionally, BTT will provide support with respect to national initiatives such as marine spatial planning and other policy priorities of mutual interest.
*Photos available upon request.*
About Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s mission is to conserve bonefish, tarpon, and permit—the species, their habitats and the larger fisheries they comprise. BTT pursues this mission across the southeastern US, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea through science-based conservation, education, and advocacy.
CZMAI has as its mission to lead the sustainable use and planned development of Belize’s coastal zone. The Coastal Zone Management Act enacted in 1998 and the Sport Fishing Regulations, Statutory Instrument #115 of 2009, empower CZMAI to oversee the licensing of sport fishing activities within Belize’s terrestrial waters.