Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Fisheries Department

The Fisheries Department is equipped with a Vehicle and an Outboard Engine as part of strengthening Belize Fisheries Governance and Management Eddectiveness in Belize’s...

On January 19, 2024, the Blue Bond and Finance Permanence Unit handed over a Toyota Hilux Vehicle and an outboard engine to the Fisheries Department. This donation is valued at BZ$130,040 as part of a larger BZ$11.7 million investment being executed in the framework of the project titled “Establishing the enabling environment for the development of a Marine Spatial Plan through strengthened governance, improved management, and enhanced monitoring of Belize’s coastal and marine resources”.

Belize Reef Systems experiences “worst” coral bleaching event

In the past months, the Belize reef system has been experiencing adverse effects of coral bleaching. According to the Fisheries Department, bleaching is not uncommon and, over the past decades, has been caused mainly by a rise in seawater temperatures in combination with chronic local stressors and practices. Several organizations across the country have been working together to support the ability of coral ecosystems to become more tolerant, resistant, and resilient to their external stressors. The current bleaching is arguably one of the worst bleaching events Belize's reef systems have experienced in the last decade.

Recent Coral Bleaching Event

The Fisheries Department informs the public of the recent bleaching events impacting Belize’s reefs. These events are not uncommon and over the past decades have been caused mainly by a rise in seawater temperatures in combination with chronic local stressors and practices. This trend in occurrence and severity of mass coral bleaching events has been continuous. As such, a “prescription” for a “cure” is unavailable, hence, there is the need to rely on approaches that support the ability of coral ecosystems to become more tolerant, resistant, and resilient to their external stressors.

Belize Aggressor removed from Lighthouse Reef; damage assessment commences

The diving vessel Belize Aggressor IV, which was stuck at Lighthouse Reef, has finally been removed. The Belize Port Authority (BPA) said on Monday, November 27th, that the vessel was successfully refloated after being grounded near the Aquarium Dive Site for around ten days. An in-depth assessment of the damage to the coral reef is now underway. Following that, a fine will be assessed for the damage caused by the diving vessel.

ACES Wildlife Rescue and HCMR assist Green Turtle in distress

A distressed female adult Green Sea Turtle was assisted on Tuesday around 6:30PM after being rescued from the lagoon side near downtown San Pedro. Members of ACES Wildlife Rescue spotted the troubled turtle and monitored its safety until personnel from the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) arrived. The injured turtle was taken to Hol Chan’s base for evaluation and transported to Belize City, where the Fisheries Department will observe her.

Discovery of turtle carcasses causes concern in San Pedro; HCMR discards poaching suspicions

The sight of turtle carcasses in the San Mateo area on Wednesday, July 12th, caused a stir of concern in San Pedro Town. Sea turtles have been protected in Belize since 1993. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) team quickly acted but later explained that the findings were unrelated to poaching.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve concludes its 2023 Reef Fest with a fun and educational fair

After a full week of fun and educational activities, the 2023 Hol Chan Marine Reserve Reef Fest concluded with a grand fair at the Boca del Rio Beach Park on Saturday, May 27th. The family event featured informational booths by several local and off-island organizations, as well as live music, a kayak race, games, and lots of giveaways.

Changes coming to Bacalar Chico National Park under the SACD Management

Following the co-management agreement signed between the Government of Belize and conservation organizations in March of 2023, the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD) will oversee the management of the terrestrial portion of the Bacalar Chico National Park in northern Ambergris Caye. While some island residents have reported no management activities within the area, the SACD explained they are working on a strategic plan to look after Bacalar Chico with the involvement of island organizations and stakeholders. SACD is a non-governmental organization (NGO) promoting the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources for the benefit of present and future generations. Located in Sarteneja, a traditional fishing village in the northern Corozal District, it also co-manages the Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary alongside the Belize Forestry Department.