The economic value of the flats fishery is often an important driver of conservation for resource managers, policymakers, and those who make a living from fishing. For this reason, BTT has commissioned economic impact assessments for flats fisheries across the Caribbean Basin. These studies have helped to provide leverage for conservation in many other locations where BTT works: national parks to protect bonefish habitats in The Bahamas; catch and release regulations for bonefish, tarpon, permit in Belize; a Special Permit Zone and spawning site closure for permit in Florida.
Important economic information has been missing from one notable flats fishing area – the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. That is about to change. BTT’s Belize-Mexico Program Director, Dr. Addiel Perez, is working with Dr. Leopolodo Palomo from Mexico to assess the value of flats fishing to local economies in the region. Using similar methods to studies in The Bahamas, Belize, and Florida, the team is interviewing flats guides, lodge owners and others to estimate the economic impact of the flats fishery in the region. The team has conducted numerous interviews, most recently with independent guides and guides from Pesca con Mosca Cozumel, La Pescadora Lodge, Pesca Maya, Punta Allen Fishing Club, Grand Slam Fly Fishing Lodge and The Xflats.
BTT thanks the flats fishing community of Quintana Roo for hosting and supporting BTT’s conservation work in the region. Guides and lodges in Hol Box, Isla Blanca-Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Punta Allen, Xcalak, Mahahual, Xcalak to Chetumal have participated. With more information comes more leverage to conserve the flats fishery and ensure its health for generations to come.
A final report will be provided by July and posted in a future blog along with BTT’s plan for how the information will be used.