Thursday, May 30, 2024

Belize joining other Central American countries in Fisheries Research Project


A Fisheries Research project was launched across the Central American countries on Monday, September 19th. Led by the Central American Organization for Fisheries and Aquaculture (OSPESCA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations along with Mexico’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute, the project is aimed at evaluating the fishery resources in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Under the title, “Prospecting and Evaluation of Fisheries Resources in Central America” the Fishing and Oceanographic Research Vessel “Dr. Jorge Carranza Fraser” will travel approximately 13,890 kilometers of coastline of the listed Central American countries and evaluate the state of their fishing resources.
22 scientists from Mexico and other Central American countries, including Fisheries Officers attached to the Belize Fisheries Department (BFD), will be on board the 195 ft. long research vessel gathering scientific information on potential fishery resources, in addition to the oceanographic characterization and its relationship with the distribution and abundance of biodiversity and especially of fishery resources. According to BFD, some of the projects’ objectives include “gathering field data on the composition of fauna on the continental shelf and continental slope to a depth of 300 meters, producing a list of main species sampled, studying the distribution of commercially important fish species, collecting biological material for further analysis at research centers in Mexico, obtaining a photographic record of species sampled, evaluating physical oceanographic conditions; including temperature/salinity profile of the water column; and conducting a bathymetric and morphological assessment of the seafloor within the agreed marine survey areas.”
The vessel’s journey began from the Port of Progresso, Yucatan (Mexico), arriving in Belize on Wednesday, September 19th. Researchers will remain in Belize for seven days before moving to the next country. “Survey activities will be done considering the bathymetry of the area and in a depth range 100m to 300m. In Belize, data will be collected at 11 oceanographic stations, and eight transects will be done covering a total distance of 550 nautical miles,” said BFD.
At the end of the research, the participating countries will each receive up-to-date information on their fishing resources, which will better allow the respective Governments to establish policies in regards to climate change, sustainability of the oceans and the effects of illegal fishing.

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