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Regional Forum held on Technology Solutions for Marine Life

Today was the conclusion of a three day workshop which was hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society and saw the participation of its partners from Central America and the Caribbean. The workshop discussed ways of using technology to promote sustainable fishing and to preserve marine life. Love news spoke with Nicole Auil-Gomez, the Country Director of Wildlife Conservation Society, who said that the purpose of the workshop was to highlight some of the successes and challenges of using the technologies.   

Nicole Auil-Gomez Country Director Wildlife Conservation Society: “Holistically speaking there are several facets of work as it relates to marine management and involves protected areas. Some of the initiatives are looking at broadening or expanding our No Take Zones. . It involves public outreach and communication which is very important particularly in compliance with laws that the public are aware of what the resources are. They have an appreciation and they change behaviors for the benefit of the resources. The other component is the fact that we do have laws. We have enforcement officers that are on the water that is protecting Belize’s resources for the benefit of the future generations and for sustainable use so that we can have a long use of our fisheries resources which is appreciated by the Tourism Industry as well as the cultural practices and of course our food security.”

Auil-Gomez explained that yesterday the group had the opportunity to visit Goff’s Caye for a demonstration of how the technologies are used.

Nicole Auil-Gomez – Country Director, Wildlife Conservation Society: “They can see and practice them, we have practice drones, practice using Smart. We have a fisher vessel that is currently being tested using a vessel monitoring system so we are looking for that particular fishing vessel. It is all a part of understanding the practice of sea food collection from the harvesting of the sea food, from the fisherman perspective to the sale of the sea food to the consumption of the sea food so this part of the work is really looking at the part on the water. Traceability systems were discussed and so recently the National Fishermen Cooperative Society just launched a trace system so they are able to track fish products coming into their cooperative and track it going out so now external buyers can know where the fish came from. This part of the work we are looking at tracking it from the water, from the sea so we will be able to identify where the source of the sea food is coming from.”

The technologies include Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tools, “SMART” and drones which are used in patrolling the marine protected areas.