Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Omar Arceo invited to present on fly fishing and sustainable fishing in Cuba


San Pedro’s Omar Arceo, popularly known as the “Dr. of the Flats,” was invited to Cuba as an international expert to share his decades of experience and expertise in fly fishing and sustainable fishing practices. The interactive event, part of a week-long workshop that started on Monday, May 20th, will also promote rural, marine, and aquaculture opportunities and other alternative fishing practices connected to native ecosystems.
The workshop is part of an ecosystem-based adaptation project called ‘Proyecto AbE-C,’ funded by the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund and Coordinated by Cuba’s National Center for Protected Areas. Another partner includes the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The event occurred at the Zapata Swamp National Park located on the Zapata peninsula in the southern Matanzas Province of Cuba, in the municipality of Cienaga de Zapata. Located less than 90 miles southeast of the capital city of Havana, it is renowned as a fly-fishing destination.
The Dr. of the Flats presented the positive impact sustainable fishing has on coastal communities. He highlighted how important it is to keep healthy ecosystems. The San Pedrano fly-fisherman shared 30+ years of experience teaching fly-fishing techniques, including students, to those attending the workshop. He explained that the educational event aims to bring awareness to safeguard fragile coastal ecosystems. During the week-long activities, Arceo worked with fishers, scientists, and conservationists, sharing the art of fly fishing. The Zapata Swamp National Park offered the perfect scenario for the opportunity to develop talents and learn together.
Proyecto AbE-C focuses on designing and implementing nature-based solutions to achieve greater socio-ecological resilience and reduce climate risks for people. EDF assisted Arceo in connecting with this project, adding to the long relationship between Cuba and Belize. The two countries focus on marine and coastal conservation, sustainable fisheries, and local development. In Belize, Arceo partners with the EDF branch in the country, teaching young people to fly fish along with the Coastal Zone Management in the summer. These involve San Pedro Town, Belize City, Placencia, Dangriga, and Punta Gorda Town.

Omar Arceo

Arceo’s family in San Pedro is proud of his achievements and recalls his humble beginnings and the immense effort he has put into reaching where he is today. Arceo is not just a local advocate for the conservation of fly-fishing grounds but a recognized regional expert and an ambassador for sustainable fishing.

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