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Nov 12, 2018

Gillnets Confiscated from within the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve

Over the weekend, five gillnets were removed from the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, located some twenty miles off the coast of Belize.  Recently, a report circulated that illegal gillnets were being used within the protected area and that there was need for intervention on the part of authorities, including the park managers. The Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association is the official co-manager for the reserve and based on the report as well as information coming to its headquarters off Coney Drive, yards of gillnets were confiscated from the area on Sunday. According to Executive Director, Valdemar Andrade the laws are straightforward and TASA officers and coastguard went out to address the illegal activity; unfortunately there was no one in the area.


Valdemar Andrade

Valdemar Andrade, Executive Director, TASA

“We saw posts on Facebook and then we saw it on the news and then we started to gather information to be able to act on it. Before this, we have had a few gillnets within the reserve which we have acted on; one of them we took to the courts and they were charged. In that gillnet, there was a lemon shark and tarpon in it. The second one was reported by Turneffe Island Resort. Their team along with ours went and we had to literally peel it off the reef; it filled up a twenty-five foot skiff as I showed you. That was in September of 2017; that was the last encounter we had with gillnets before this one. In this case, the camp was a fishing camp that was abandoned. Obviously most of the gear was not in use because it was in pieces. There was one that was intact and it did have the floaters on it. So those were confiscated as found property because they should not be in the reserve.”

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