Gillnets are seriously damaging Belize’s marine environment, and with it, the country’s tourism industry and commercial fishery. Gillnets—some up to a mile long—indiscriminately kill marine life while threatening commercial fishing stocks, sport fishing species, manatees, dolphins, turtles, and other marine life.
With tourism representing 45% of Belize’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 70% of all tourists visit marine destinations, a healthy marine environment is critical to the country’s economic future. Likewise, Belize’s vibrant commercial fishery is directly dependent on a healthy marine environment.
The Coalition for Sustainable Fisheries is a group of conservation organizations, commercial fishermen, tourism representatives and sports fishing enthusiasts with a simple goal: to ban all gillnets in Belizean waters.
Much of the heavy lifting has been done and we are cautiously optimistic that a gillnet ban will be enacted in the coming months. The Coalition for Sustainable Fisheries has presented a formal proposal to the government calling for an end to all gillnet fishing in Belizean waters following a one-year phase-out period. This proposal includes a commitment by the Coalition to raise substantial funds to assist licensed gillnet fishermen in transitioning to more sustainable fishing methods or other alternative livelihoods. Your donation is essential for this effort and will go directly to the Gillnet Transition Fund created by the Coalition for Sustainable Fisheries for this purpose.
This gillnet ban will be a huge step forward for Belize in ensuring the sustainability of its incredibly diverse fishery and marine environment. With your help, this can happen.