Thursday, April 18, 2024

Belize Fisheries Department protects sea cucumber breeding season

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The Belize Fisheries Department, in its mission to provide the country and the people of Belize with the best possible management of aquatic and fisheries resources and with continuous research and collaboration with the University of Belize, has enacted legislation to fully protected the reproductive season for commercial sea cucumbers in Belize as determined via various studies conducted by Dr. Arleni Rogers, experienced sea cucumber researcher in Belize. The recently enacted Fisheries Resources (Sea Cucumber) (Amendment) Regulations, Statutory Instrument No. 107 of 2022, provide amendments to the previous closed season which now prohibits fishing or possession from February 1st to July 31st, inclusive, in any year. These Regulations also establish size limits.

Sea Cucumber

Sea cucumber fishery provides many fishing families with employment opportunities, an important assemble in the value chain of this extremely valuable fishery resource. The Department seeks to secure fishers’ livelihoods while ensuring the biological importance of sea cucumbers in Belizean waters and the economy of Belize.
The Department is planning to conduct a national sea cucumber stock assessment in collaboration with Dr. Rogers, a ‘seasoned’ marine researcher at the University of Belize and her team. The Department looks forward in strengthening the collaboration with the University of Belize as an important partner in ensuring the sustainability of our aquatic resources.
For 2022, the sea cucumber fishing season will remain closed and possession is prohibited. The results of the stock assessment will inform the Government of Belize if the fishery is viable for the 2023 fishing season. It is expected that the assessment will provide further updates on the biology and ecology of the sea cucumber species in Belize.

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