Developing a Shared View on the Status of Belize’s Fisheries

Credit: Brian Skerry

Supporting Ecologically and Economically Sustainable Fisheries in Belize

The Belize Barrier Reef is the longest such reef structure in the Western Hemisphere and in many ways the heart of the entire Mesoamerican Reef ecosystem. It also supports ecologically and economically important commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries. Extensive scientific data are available on many of these fisheries, as well as on the biology of the most important animals targeted, including conch, lobster, and key fish species. Much of the available data points to significant concerns with the sustainability of key fisheries, which must be addressed for these fisheries to reach and maintain their economic potential.

In February 2023, The Summit Foundation launched a project to compile and assess the best available scientific information on Belize’s commercial and recreational fisheries and engage in dialogue with fisheries stakeholders in Belize to reach a common understanding of the current state and potential of the resources. The hope is that this will lead to a shared vision of the desired future for this important sector and ideas about how best to achieve that vision. The project aims to support the Government of Belize in its work to develop sustainable fisheries as part of its growing Blue Economy.

The project team brings together global expertise in fisheries science and management, and includes the Sea Around Us, a research initiative at the University of British Columbia, MRAG Americas, the Environmental Law Institute, Comunidad y Biodiversidad, the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative, and Dr. Alexander Tewfik.

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