TIDE Watching Honduran Waters

Rangers working with TIDE have encountered two incidents where illegal fishing was taking place in the Port of Honduras Marine Reserve. In one of the two separate cases, the rangers were able to capture one of the fishermen who then turned in to authorities. Communication Coordinator at T.I.D.E. George Emmanuel tells us more.

George Emmanuel, T.I.D.E. Communication Coordinator

“The first incident occurred on June 4th and it was our rangers retrieving two gillnets near Monkey River Village. In that incident the individuals fled the scene when the rangers pulled up. The rangers did retrieve two gillnets and we have coordinates for those as well and those were found within the Port of Honduras Marine Reserve. IN the second incident which occurred on June 9th the rangers reported that they caught on particular individual red-handed with a gillnet. In both instances the mesh size of the net were below three inches and in that incident the individual was transported to the fisheries department and then unto the Punta Gorda Police.”

Emmanuel says that the use of gillnets in the marine reserves are strongly prohibited by the authorities.

George Emmanuel, T.I.D.E. Communication Coordinator

“The gillnets are normally used by the fisherman for fishing, they set the gillnets across the river mouths and we have five main rivers entering the Port of Honduras Marine Reserve; you have Rio Grande, Golden Stream, Monkey River, Middle River and Deep River. So the fishermen set the nets across the mouth of these rivers and use it primarily to catch fish and it is illegal to set these nets in all marine reserves in the whole country and those regulations are set by the Fisheries Department. It is also illegal to use long lines, these are lines with many hooks which are set in these areas and a lot of marine species get cut with these lines for example the marine turtles and they get strangled and they die. So these nets are destructive as they also catch juvenile fish and other marine species.”

Emmanuel adds that there are other set regulations for the use of marine reserves and it is important for the public to follow these rules in order to preserve life in the respective reserves.

George Emmanuel, T.I.D.E. Communication Coordinator

“There are rules and regulations regarding the use of the reserve and also the types of activities that can be conducted within the reserve. The reserve as well has conservation and preservation zones which are “no take zones” and in the second incident that I mention the individual was in a preservation zone where there is no extraction of the marine resources and certainly the use of gillnets are destructive. A number of marine species die every year because of the use of gillnets. The manatees for example are found in that area where the gillnets were retrieved near the Monkey River area. We here at TIDE would like to continue working with the fishermen and those who use the marine reserve and we want to make sure that we have resources for future generations. There are regulations set for the use of marine reserves in the entire country of Belize and those are set by the Belize Fisheries Department and us here at TIDE work along with them in ensuring that these kinds of activities do not occur within the marine reserves.”

The Port of Honduras Marine Reserve is co-managed by the Fisheries Department and TIDE.

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