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Nov 16, 2018

WCS Hosts Global Marine Meeting in Belize

Since Monday of this week, more than twenty Wildlife Conservation Society representatives, including programme officers and country directors from around the world, have been meeting in Belize. The organization, which has an office here in Belize City, hosts a global marine meeting every few years to bring together personnel to re-strategize for future conservation work. We met up with WCS representatives earlier this week and they shared the significance of the meeting and what it means for conservation work in Belize.

 

Jason Patlis

Jason Patlis, Executive Director, Global Marine Conservation Programme, WCS

“The wonderful opportunities as presented by bringing our global marine together to look at the strategy we have had for the last several years and to think about what the ocean needs for the next decade. And a lot of what we are discussing reconfirms the focus that we have that place based conversation, similar to what we see here in Belize in terms of marine protected areas, in terms of co-managed fisheries areas are really critical and will remain priorities for us going forward. We need to address small scale fisheries and take the kind of work that we are doing here in Belize and replicate it in many other regions that are not as advanced as Belize is. So, that works on small scale fisheries will be a critical priority for us going forward. There are several species groups, sharks and rays, that are apex predators and if you have healthy shark and ray populations you are gonna have healthy ecosystems below those populations. So, we are also confirming our commitments for those priority species. We talked earlier about climate change and how we incorporate those needs and the urgency of climate change will be another priority of ours going forward.”

 

Nicole Auil Gomez

Nicole Auil Gomez, Country Director, WCS Belize

“For our program, we have the benefit of having a few staff be able to interact with people from around the world and we are able to learn from their experiences, whether from the Pacific, Indian Ocean. We are able to learn together and create new systems for global priorities – really identify global priorities together. We are able to showcase some of the successes we have had in Belize related to our small scale fisheries initiatives and related to our research work and exchange dialogue with regards to coral changes we are seeing through-out the world.  As it relates to the marine conservation work, we are looking at Protected Areas strengthening. We are looking at reducing wildlife trafficking illegal including illegal or unreported fisheries. We are looking at also strengthening policy, we are looking at engaging communities and we also work with on the ground protected area management work, in particular the Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve and within the Southern Water Caye Marine Reserve.”

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