The Belize-Mexico Program continues to make advances in integrating the flats fishery into conservation for improved management of bonefish, tarpon, permit, snook and their habitats. In May, BTT focused on working with resources managers and flats fishing guides along the Caribbean coast of southern Mexico and northern Belize.
In Belize, BTT Belize-Mexico Program Manager Dr. Addiel Perez collaborated with fishing guide Omar Arceo and the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development, which co-manages Corozal Bay, on a fly-fishing and conservation training program for guides from Sarteneja. During this training program, the guides learned catch-and-release best handing practices, the latest science on bonefish, permit, tarpon, and snook, and their habitats, and conservation and management needs. With this training, the guides will be better professional guides and better stewards in conservation.
In Mexico, BTT participated in several workshops to develop a strategic management plan for the Manatee Sanctuary in Chetumal Bay. This area is managed by Biodiversity and Natural Protected Areas Institute of Quintana Roo, whose goal is biodiversity protection. BTT and long-time collaborator Dr. Juan Jacobo Schmitter-Soto worked with other scientists to address concerns about proposed dredging and development of the Zaragoza Canal. Scientist and stakeholders also proposed strategies to mitigate projects such as dredging to increase the depth of the canal, which will impact seagrass, mangroves and coral reefs where much of the flats fishing in the Xcalak are occurs. Work funded in 2021 by BTT indicates the flats fishery generates US$ 45.2 million. A summary in Spanish can be read here.
BTT will continue to collaborate with resource managers to increase their capacity for improved conservation and management of the flats fishery in Belize and Mexico.
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.