Fishing is Life
It’s no secret that Belize is certainly a top notch fishing destination. The variety of fishing and the numbers of chances you can get per day at some of the most difficult catches can only be matched in a few other places in the world. It isn’t just the sport that calls you to the water time and time again but also the amazing sights. 25-foot Whale Sharks feeding amongst schools of tuna, massive bull sharks in hot pursuit of Spotted Eagle Rays on the reef in less than 2 feet of water, and pods of whales basking on the surface, so close you could touch them are just a few of the amazing things you see out on the blue.
The Future of the Sport
The waters of Belize are a treasure trove and must be regarded with profound respect. Sustainably managing resources is the key to making sure sport fishing in Belize remains a viable industry and pastime. As the country continues to grow and develop, the risk of destroying natural habitats increases. This is important to be proactive about so that healthy fish populations are maintained. In order for juvenile fish to grow, they need the safety of shallow mangroves for protection. This is why developers need to be responsible and refrain from cutting down mangroves. We need to strike a balance between development and conservation. What good is a world class development surrounded by polluted and fishless waters? Harmful fishing practices such as the use of Gill Nets and harvesting undersized lobster and conch also must cease.
Protecting the Sport means Protecting the Sea
Whether you fish for a living or just fish for fun, every fisherman plays a vital role in the preservation of fish stocks and the environment they live in. Understanding that we can’t remove every fish from the sea today if we want to be able to catch them tomorrow is plain common sense. We the fishermen need to be vocal about protecting the incredible fishery we’ve inherited and stand-up together. We are all connected, every species, every ecosystem, every decision we make ripples and affects everyone and everything. It is up to us to make a difference. When we see potentially damaging activities taking place it is our duty to put a stop to it.
The future of the sport and further the integrity of the environment is in our hands. The comradery and great friendships that I have made over the years with people who enjoy the sport just as much as I do give me hope. As a community we are responsible for preserving the privilege of the sport for generations to come. If we come together now and make ourselves responsible for the future of our waters, the perfect fishing trip will still be possible years from now. I for one envision enjoying a morning of flats fishing for Tarpon, Permit and Bonefish well into my senior years. After releasing a Grand Slam, heading offshore in search of Blue Marlin, Wahoo and Dorado will still be on the agenda. Back on shore, a few fillets on the grill, some lobster on the side and of course a few cold Belikins to wash it all down will cap of the perfect day at sea.
Original Article by: Andrew Roe – President of the Belize Game Fish Association
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