Fishers from Honduras and Guatemala continually applaud Belizean fishers for practicing sustainable fishing practices. They openly admit that they have benefited over the years from conservation in Belize and through the Tri-national Alliance for the Gulf of Honduras have started to work on establishing replenishment zones within their fishing areas.
Last Thursday, the Tri-National Alliance for the Gulf of Honduras, TRIGOH’s coordinator, Cleopatra Mendez and other TRIGOH directors travelled to southern Belize with fishers from Honduras and Guatemala. Representatives from the Belize Federation of Fishers and the Rio Grande Cooperative accompanied them on their visits to the Placencia Fishing Cooperative, Southern Environmental Association and the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment.
Towards the end of the two days visit, TIDE’s ED led a discussion on progress made with expansion of replenishment zone in the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, supplemental livelihood opportunities that TIDE has offered to stakeholders and participation of community researchers in their science program.
Fishers expressed that they are conscious of the importance of replenishment zones and have already started working towards establishment of replenishment zones in Sarstoon and Cuyamel. ‘Five years ago, the topic of RZ would not be entertained at TRIGOH so this is a huge step ahead’, said Celia Mahung. The popular topic during the discussion was supplemental livelihood opportunities for fishers. Fishers said that they were motivated by stories of the Placencia Fishing Cooperative and progress they have made with their seaweed project. They claim that in speaking with Placencia fishing cooperative members they were reminded that it is not an easy task for fishing groups to remain united and that success does not happen overnight; therefore it important to be patient and tolerant with each other in order to reap benefits!
The exchange visit ended on Friday and fishers returned to their homes in Guatemala and Honduras on Saturday morning.