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Sep 14, 2021

Erecting Manatee Protection Signs along the Coast

In 2019, forty-five manatee deaths were recorded by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute. Then in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic reduced tourism activity and the number of deaths went down to only eleven. Since the start of this year, nine deaths have already been recorded; the most recent was that of an adult male manatee in Gales Point on Monday.  “Manatee Man,” Jamal Galvez has partnered up with the Belize City Council and the Ministry of Blue Economy to erect signs along the coast of the country so that residents can phone in when they spot an injured manatee at sea. We caught up with the various stakeholders as a sign was installed at the Civil Aviation and Blue Economy Park in Buttonwood Bay, Belize City.


Jamal Galvez

Jamal Galvez, Program Coordinator, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute

“What we are doing is basically spreading awareness, giving information, making ourselves available to the public so when an incident does occur, the people know who to call and what to do. Sometimes the difference in our response time may be the difference in a dead manatee, dolphin or a whale or a live one. So it is very important that people are able to access us readily. So the goal is to place these signs across the coast from Belize to Toledo, up the north as well, specifically in the Belize City area in places where we know people congregate along coast and in places where we see manatee incidents occur most predominantly.”


Kennedy Carrillo

Kennedy Carrillo, C.E.O., Ministry of Blue Economy

“Most recently, with some of the amendments that have been made to the Fisheries Act, now we have responsibility directly for the manatee and it is our responsibility to ensure that we raise awareness in terms of the type of risky activities that sometimes take place that cause us to lose these precious mammals. We have seen the images, very often on Facebook, in terms of how they suffer because of irresponsible persons out at the water with these skiffs driving especially in areas where they know very well that the manatees are and so we call on everyone to keep it in mind. We are happy to be doing this today. It is really another symbol for us of the collaboration that this park represents.”


Michael Novelo

Michael Novelo, Councillor Responsible for Parks, Belize City Council

“Belize City Council always assist this organization in any way it can. I think we are the ones who always render the backhoe, if I am not mistaken. So we always support. So when Mister Galvez called to install these signs, we were hastily ready to do so.”

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