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Feb 23, 2016

Belize Game Fishing Association Speaks Out Against Shark Kill

Images of a recent shark kill near Lighthouse Reef have sparked public outrage about the continued use of gill nets.  While it is not believed that local fishermen are behind the lurid act, the use of this type of fishing gear is not outlawed in Belize.  Earlier today, the Belize Game Fish Association spoke out against the incident which resulted in the deaths of dozens of sharks.  According to Andrew Roe, the economic impact of decimating the local shark population can have a profound ripple effect on tourism.

 

Andrew Roe, President, Belize Game Fish Association

Andrew Roe

“The Belize Game Fish Association has been working for some time to fight gill nets and to fight shark fishing and, you know, shark fishing is something that worldwide has had a massive impact on the state of the oceans.  So we’ve been pushing very hard to try to get shark fishing either extremely regulated but preferably completely removed from or banned on the laws of Belize.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“So now upon seeing these images with these sharks being killed in large numbers, what was the initial reaction or what has been the position taken by your organization with regards to what has happened?”

 

Andrew Roe

“It’s a hurtful thing seeing something, sharks are magnificent creatures, seeing them underwater is an amazing experience.  Seeing them all lying dead on the beach it is hurtful and as far as the association is concerned, these guys they technically are operating legally.  They’re fishing under, it’s not illegal to fish for

sharks in Belize. Our position really is that it would, it has a massive impact.  It has a massive detrimental impact to the economy of Belize.  Belize is completely, Belize is largely dependent on tourism.  A quarter of our GDP comes from tourism and I think one in five jobs are tourism-based or at least benefit from tourism.  And removing sharks or using gill nets to capture sharks on our reefs means that tourists can’t go see them and being able to take the tourists time and time again to Lighthouse Reef, as most people have come to expect, to see sharks is no longer going to be possible if this sort of shark fishing continues, especially using nets because nets, it’s not just removing sharks it’s going to move everything else along the reef.”

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