Blog Tags: Oceana In Belize
Oceana has celebrated Ocean Hero Awards since 2009—a way to recognize and honor leaders in ocean conservation, education, and advocacy. Past recipients range from Jean Beasley, founder and director of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and winner of the Animal Planet Hero of the Year, as well as Don Voss, an avid scuba diver who founded a marine debris organization.
The Great Blue Hole, a Belizean National Monument and World Heritage Site, is one of the most gorgeous marine settings in the world. Situated just over 50 miles east of Belize City in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, the rare reef formation stretches over 1,000 feet wide and over 400 feet deep. Previously an above-ground cave that’s sunk underwater, this sinkhole is teeming with marine life and is a haven for divers and ocean enthusiasts. Belize is home to three of the Caribbean’s four natural coral reef atolls.
Oceana in Belize has been busy instilling a sense of wonder and stewardship for the oceans in Belizean youth. Earlier this month, they took a group of underprovided boys, all under the age of 14, to Belize’s beautiful coral isles. For many of them, it was their first time to the ocean— meaning it was the first time that they were able to see this famous, stunning resource of their own country.
A trio of Hollywood celebrities recently took their star power to Belize to help Oceana protect the largest reef in the Western hemisphere. Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother”), Rashida Jones (“The Office”), and Angela Kinsey (“The Office”) traveled to coastal Belize, where they raised awareness for this delicate ocean ecosystem and promoted Oceana’s ongoing work in the country.
I have several good news items to share with you this week.
First, I am happy to announce that our trawling ban in Belize is now official. Belize is home to a major portion of the world’s second largest reef system as a well as a thriving local fishing community, and the ban protects both these essential elements of Belizean life.
Belize is one of only a few countries in the world to completely ban trawling. We won this important victory with the help of the local community, our staff in Belize and Sir Thomas Moore, a longtime supporter of Oceana’s work around the world.
Second, we have made great strides in our campaign to save sharks. As top predators, sharks are essential to a healthy ocean, and a hundred million sharks are killed every year by the industrial fishing industry – mostly for their fins.
Late last year, we won an incredible victory to protect sharks with the passage of the Shark Conservation Act, which banned shark finning in the United States. Now, we are on the verge of gaining two more important victories to protect sharks.
The new issue of the Oceana Magazine has arrived!
This issue features news from the Gulf, including an in-depth look at the dangers of offshore drilling. The magazine also explores offshore wind as a source of clean, safe, sustainable energy.
Also included: updated news on the status of loggerhead sea turtles, and the latest happenings in our newest office in Belize, plus a profile of "Top Chef" finalist Bryan Voltaggio. Chef Voltaggio even gave us the recipe for one of his favorite sustainable fish dinners so you can make it at home!
Check out the magazine for more Oceana goodies.
One day in December, the residents of the seaside village of Punta Gorda in Belize looked out to the horizon and saw something unexpected: Jamaican fishing boats. They had arrived, unannounced and without permits, to fish in Belize’s diverse waters.
Many of Punta Gorda’s local fishermen still work the shallow waters inside the Belize Barrier Reef from individual canoes using age-old methods to provide lobster, shellfish and reef fish for Belizeans, as well as a small but thriving export business. The Jamaican boats, with more sophisticated commercial gear, offered no such promise for the local economy or the continued sustainability of Belize’s fisheries.
A few unpermitted Jamaican fishing boats may seem like a local hurly-burly, and after an uproar the boats were turned away by Belizean authorities. But Oceana has discovered that the fight to protect Belize’s waters from exploitation has just begun.
Other countries with larger fleets, namely Chinese Taipei and Spain – Europe’s largest and most aggressive fishing nation – have already approached the government of Belize about moving into the deep waters beyond the Belize Barrier Reef.
- Ocean Roundup: Baby Sea Turtles Tracked with Tiny Tags, Canada Restricts Large Area from Commercial Fishing, and More Posted Wed, October 22, 2014
- Oceana Magazine Supporter Spotlight: Jean-Cristophe Vie Posted Thu, October 23, 2014
- Photos, Video: Oceana Wraps Up Canary Islands Expedition after Discovering Vast Biodiversity Posted Mon, October 20, 2014
- CEO Note: Wyss Foundation Paves the Way for Oceana to Rebuild Fisheries in Peru, Canada Posted Wed, October 22, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Costa Rica Restricts Industrial Tuna Fishing, West Coast Sea Stars May Be Making a Comeback, and More Posted Fri, October 24, 2014