The Board of YDCCF met on October 30, 2018 and approved another $45,500 for nine new grants to projects in Belize, California, Montana, and Washington. These newest grants are illustrative of YDCCF’s continued commitment to fisheries restoration, protection and education, and community assistance. Groups funded include the Madison Conservation District in Ennis, Montana; the Wild Salmon Center in Portland Oregon; Gallatin Watershed Council in Bozeman, Montana; Montana Wilderness School in Bozeman, Montana; and Cast Hope in San Diego, California, among others.
In addition, the Board of YDCCF voted unanimously to launch a long term effort in partnership with the Bonefish Tarpon Trust. The effort, Project Belize, is an effort to identify important habitats and locations for conservation in Belize, and use this information to propose fisheries and habitat protections. The project will also help to establish an education program to build public support and understanding of the importance of the flats fishery and flats conservation to the country of Belize.
YDCCF has also joined the newly formed the Coalition for Sustainable Fisheries. The members of the coalition include: Oceana, Turneffe Atoll Trust, Belize Federation of Fishers, Belize Game Fish Association, Belize National Sport Fishing Association, and YDCCF, along with nearly all of the fishing lodges located throughout Belize. The goal of this coalition is to advocate for the phase out and banning of gillnets in Belize.
Gillnets are indiscriminate and cause significant damage to Belize’s sport fishing industry – an industry providing 2500 – 3000 quality jobs and generating in excess of $100 million dollars annually for Belize’s economy. Gillnets have been banned in several countries and in the US in Florida. Decision makers in these areas have realized that gillnets are both environmentally unsustainable and economically detrimental.