Friday, March 6, 2009

Shark Killings in Belize - Discovery

When local sharks are killed in any region it is usually the commercial shark diving industry that discovers and records the event.

These "events" have happened at a number of well known shark sites from South Africa to the Bahamas recently.

This week it was Belize and a gruesome story of local fishermen pitted against a dive and shark dive industry who are in a struggle for the regions sharks. One time use vs sustainable tourism:

Scandalous photographs of the slaughter of nurse sharks have sent shock waves through Belize. Mating nurse sharks nesting in the shallow waters along the shores of Caye Caulker were being filleted in a sailboat, as well as, on board two motorized boats which were resting on the Caribbean waters.

Caye Caulker tour guide James Rosado from Belize Diving Services saw the Corozal licensed sailboat with what, according to him, appeared to be dolphin carcasses on their boats. Closer looks revealed that what was actually being cut up were nurse sharks. The sailboat was accompanied by two twenty five foot Mexican skiffs, one having a sixty horse powered engine while the other had a forty horse powered engine. These power boats contained what appeared to be gill nets (Gill-nets entangle fish. The nets are comprised of panels of multifilament- or monofilament panels with a stretched mesh size that capture fish by either lodging behind their gill-covers or by entangling their spines) behind them.

“Two of the boats were filled with nets and in the middle compartment of the boats, both of them, were filled with sharks, as well. Each boat had maybe about eight people on it and each person had a big mature nurse shark on the boat, just filleting the nurse shark,” commented Rosado.

Editors Note: Kudos to James Rosado from Belize Diving Services for breaking this story. If there's anything we can do to help please do not hesitate to ask. The way to effect change in Belize is to "bang the drum" and you folks are doing a good job.

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