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Jun 27, 2003

Shrimp–and shrimpers–converge on barracks

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We have shrimp trawlers and shrimp farms…but many of us are only now realizing–like Jacqueline Woods did this morning–that there is another method of putting fresh shrimp on the table.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

It’s not normally known as one of Belize’s fishing hot spots, but this morning after word had gotten out that shrimp were massing at the barracks, it didn’t take long before the waters just behind the Princess Hotel were filled with nets and skiffs.

The fishermen say certain weather conditions cause the shrimp to venture closer to shore.

Lester Buckley, Fisherman

“The change of weather and some how their migrating pattern just change.”

Jacqueline Woods

“From what time have you been out here?”

Lester Buckley

“I just got here.”

Jacqueline Woods

“And how many shrimp you’ve caught so far?”

Lester Buckley

“I caught about a couple pounds.”

Jacqueline Woods

“When you got out here, these boats were already out here?”

Lester Buckley

“Yes, some guys got about two or three buckets.”

It’s not certain just how much shrimp were caught, but while some men managed to pull in a good amount, it was clear that the dozen or so small boats that had gathered may have contributed to those nets being cast from land coming back empty.

Ramon Carcamo, Jr., Fisheries Officer

“This type of activity has occurred throughout the history of the shrimp industry in Belize, where artisanal fisherman would venture in the river mouths or along the coast line and trawl for these shrimps, you know using the cast nets or so. However, like I said it all depends on certain time of the year. It’s more often like the rainy season where the shrimp would move along the coastline depending on the amount of food and the habitat where they are looking to reproduce and feed.”

“One fisherman know about it, he notice it and news spread. That is just the regular way fishermen communicate, it’s an old communication system that has developed. So, one fisherman finds out, he tells his friends and he says okay, boy this is a good time, lets catch it and make some money.”

Fisheries Officer Ramon Carcamo says the activity can be rewarding as the cooperatives pay top dollar for the variety known as white marine. Carcamo says the fishing does not adversely affect the marine resource, because of the specific method that is used to catch the shrimp.

Ramon Carcamo, Jr.

“When you consider that it is artisanal method, these are methods, it is a very old traditional method, a lot of work. But it wouldn’t be a negative side effect, because the fisherman would basically get in a small amount, comparing to other fishing methods that throw in small and big and everything. The fisherman that are trawling this shrimp, I wouldn’t consider it any major significant effect, because it is just during certain times of the year that they have that opportunity.”

Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

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