Belize Flats Fishery Association holds membership drive in San Pedro

Sunday, October 22nd, 2023


On Thursday, October 19th, the newly created Belize Flats Fishery Association (BFFA) held a membership drive inside La San Pedrana Restaurant on Barrier Reef Drive. The event was attended by fly-fishing guides, stakeholders involved in fly-fishing, and advocates of this tourism product. During the meeting, the board of directors was introduced, and the BFFA’s goal of bringing voices together, looking after its members, and promoting conservation was shared.
BFFA is a non-profit organization comprising professional flats fishing guides and stakeholders dedicated to working for a sustainable fishery through wise management practices. The meeting at La San Pedrana explained the importance of bringing together the fly-fishing community, which includes guides, lodges, local businesses, and lovers of the sport.
The board comprises Acting President Eworth Garbutt, Vice President Dennis Garbutt, Secretary Jorge Rodriguez, Treasurer Michael Peralta, and Chairperson Chris Leeman. Acting President Garbutt spoke about the need to unite voices and be included in decision-making and consulted on issues of concern. These include over-the-water structures that threaten fly-fishing areas. Garbutt said that the association would also look into the assurance that coastal development activities such as dredging, mangrove clearing, and over-the-water structures do not destroy the environment supporting the fly-fishing industry.
Garbutt and the other members added that the organization fully supports conservation initiatives that will benefit the present and future generations. He noted that with the collaboration of local and international scientists, it would be easier to understand the status of Belize’s fisheries, serving as a guide for wise decisions that will protect both the marine environment supporting the fish species involved in fly-fishing (Bonefish, Tarpon, and Permit), and the local economy.
The BFFA pledges to look after its members and the environment. The membership will not only safeguard the natural resources but also provide its members with professional training and even assist them with financial support in times of sickness, injury, or property loss. They hope to attract membership from across the country. Another drive was scheduled for Friday, October 20th in Placencia Southern Belize to increase membership.
The fly-fishing industry is a multi-million-dollar tourism product popular in many areas across the Belizean Caribbean coast. The western shores of San Pedro, known as flats, are home to some of the world’s best fly-fishing spots. This industry expanded even more in 2008 when Belize became the first country in the world to protect the Bonefish, Permit, and Tarpon. This gave way to popular tournaments in which the now catch-and-release sportfishing included the grand slam. A grand slam is when a fisher catches and releases the three types of fish in a day.
The Belize Flats Fishery Association looks forward to serving the fly-fishing community and raising awareness of the need to conserve marine environments such as mangroves, sandy flat bottoms, and seagrass beds, all critical for this sport fishing activity that supports thousands of livelihoods.
To know more about this newly created association, visit their website https://www.belizeflatsfishery.com/. There, you will also find information on becoming a member and donating to their vision.


 

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