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Oct 15, 2020

Lowell ‘Japs’ Godfrey & Neville Smith are this Year’s Ocean Heroes

Seaweed farmer, Lowell Godfrey, and Punta Gorda fisher and businessman, Neville Smith have been recognized as this year’s Ocean Heroes. Once a traditional commercial fisherman, Godfrey is now one of the pioneers of seaweed farming in Belize. Growing up between Dangriga and Punta Gorda, Smith has been a fisher for over twenty years and has also hosted educational trips for youths, teaching many of them to swim. The award is given every year by OCEANA Belize and due to COVID-19 the ocean heroes were recognized during its first-ever virtual award ceremony.

 

Lowell ‘Japs’ Godfrey

Lowell ‘Japs’ Godfrey, Ocean Hero Award Recipient

“My journey as a fisher start in childhood. I was thought by my dad to dive and to due commercial fishing. He also thought me the fact that seaweed grows very rapidly. That was a part of transition because when we were diving we realized that with them they were our first environmentalists. As kids we use to pick up juveniles conchs and no matter time we put them in the canoe they will throw them back up until we realize that that was not worthy to dive for. To see the destruction and to participate in the destruction through my own ignorance but using it to advance my knowledge. I was not just sitting there for a day pay. I was there to learn.”

 

Neville Smith

Neville Smith, Ocean Hero Award Recipient

“Growing up between Dangriga and Punta Gorda I came to realize that a lot of the youths can’t swim and a lot of youths are frustrated so what I try to do is get them out of the water. So at the time I didn’t know the knowhow but Miss Dorla Bowman she did some work with the US embassy and they needed people to actually teach the kids to swim. I did that for two and three years. They quit it. And I just continued doing it. I did it on my own. I seek assistance from within the community. We get volunteer ad we go out and at the end of the course we do a little snorkeling, a little cleanup campaign to let them see what they are doing in the inland is affecting the ocean. While doing the cleanup we find washers, televisions, right down to syringes, needles, bottle caps. Everything that is on land is on there. Except a car, I no find any car as yet. Find pieces though, benders and fenders.”


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