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May 30, 2017

Guatemalans Illegally Cutting Mangroves to Trap Fish

In addition to illegal operation in Belizean waters, Guatemalan fishermen have been guilty of several offences, including use of gill nets and other illegal methods to capture fish. Recently they have been using another method: constructing traps in the sea made from mangroves. Mangroves serve a particular purpose in the ecosystem as the spawning ground for fish and other species and are protected under Belizean law. On our trip to the Sarstoon on Monday, we asked the Belize Territorial Volunteers’ Wil Maheia for his observations on the practice.

 

Wil Maheia

Wil Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteers

“Cutting down of mangroves is illegal; cutting down of mangorves without a permit was illegal; and clearly those were mangroves in the water, clearly it was done by Guatemalans and again it’s just a lack of enforcement; so we need to enforce the law. I don’t know if it’s a new practice – it has been going on for some years now – but the point is that our laws are being broken. You can’t just cut a mangrove like that, it’s very important for the ecosystem to function, and if everybody cuts a piece of the mangrove then what will be there to sustain the fish life or the marine life; it’s very important to keep the mangroves.”

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