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Jun 25, 2021

New Regulations to Protect Sharks in Belizean Waters

Here’s a public notice to fisher folks across the country, sharks fishing is now banned within radius of two nautical miles around Lighthouse Reef, Glover’s Reef and Turneffe Atoll.  This follows new regulations approved the Government of Belize to establish a safe haven for sharks across an area of approximately one thousand, five hundreds square miles.  The National Shark Working Group, a team comprised of government, shark fisher folk, N.G.O.s and researchers provided recommendations to the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation.  The initiative combines the fisher’s knowledge with the experience of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sharks and Rays Conservation Program.


Andre Perez

Andre Perez, Minister of Blue Economy

“Three decades ago, the Government of Belize decided to protect the Cockscomb Basin, showing that the area was an important habitat for jaguars, the great predator of Belize.  Today, I am pleased to say that our Ministry of the Blue Economy and Civil Aviation is taking another such bold move forward for the great predators of our seas, sharks.”


Demian Chapman

Dr. Demian Chapman, Dir., Sharks & Rays Conservation Program

“So what we’re gonna do is, we’re going to use the fishers’ great knowledge of how and where to catch the sharks and we’re going to combine that with our little bit of knowledge about certain types of research techniques.  So we’re going to be catching these sharks and putting a device on them, on their fin actually that we can actually use to track them and the idea is that the shark will be released back into the water and every time the fin pops the surface the satellite tag will get picked up by satellites and we’ll be able to see where that shark is because one of the very key things is that some sharks stay in one place, some sharks that are now in the new Cockscomb of the sea will sort of go their whole life in there, but other sharks will be moving around.”


Rigoberto Quintana

Rigoberto Quintana, Acting Fisheries Administrator

“In 2005, the first national plan of action for the management and conservation of sharks was developed and adopted.  The main goal of the MPOA sharks is to establish conservation management and long-term sustainable use of sharks in Belize to fulfill the commitments made by Belize as signatory to the FAO code of conduct for responsible fisheries and other non-binding and binding instruments.  Since the inception of the MPOA’s sharks for Belize, significant new information has been accrued to what was previously limited data sets on fisheries abundance, distribution, diversity and maturity, as well as details on shark fisheries catch, efforts and trade.”

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