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Apr 19, 2018

4 Dead Manatees Discovered Up the Belize River

On April seventeenth, the team consisting of Jamal Galvez from Sea to Shore Alliance, a Port Officer and OCEANA personnel, was on routine patrol monitoring no wake zones along the Belize City coast and the Belize River. The patrol is conducted through partnership with the MARFund project to ensure that boaters are compliant with the rules when traversing these areas where manatees gather. Along the Belize River, the carcasses of four manatees were discovered. Galvez says that the three adult and a pre-adult mammal were already decomposing.

 

On the Phone: Jamal Galvez, Sea to Shore Alliance

“We stumbled on a dead manatee and we continued patrol up the river and we found one after the other after the other which resulted into four different dead manatees, which is the most that I’ve seen in any given point in time. Three of the animals were very decomposed; perhaps these animals weren’t seen because sometimes they get hanged up under mangroves or coming down the river, it’s not visible. So there were three that were really decomposed and one that was moderately decomposed. Of note was that we observed net within the area; not alluding that net may have been the cause to these animals demise, but nets present a huge threat to manatees as we’ve known for years. So we have made reports to the Fisheries Department in regards to this and we don’t believe that nets should be sitting in the river. I know that by the regulations, nets aren’t allowed to be set along certain shorelines, close to the river mouth and different regulations which I need for the Fisheries Department to clarify. We know that watercrafts have been the leading cause to manatees in the Belize River and it is something that we have been fighting for a very long time. But it is very disappointing to know that net is also an issue.”

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