Livelihoods of fishing villages in Belize.
Livelihoods of fishing villages in Belize.
• Increased population puts pressure to the coast:
The 2010 population census, conducted by Statistical Institute of Belize shows a national population size of 322,453, an increase of 29.5 percent over the year 2000. The population grows at an average annual rate around 2.5 percent. Population growth is mainly due to immigration from neighbouring countries as a result of civil war and poverty. Other population trends shown are a slow switch to rural areas, particularly to coastal communities, increased number of households and declined average household size. Migrants have been re-drawing the map of the country. The rural population grows by 31.3 percent as immigrants have set up border towns or influx into coastal villages.
Furthermore, over 40% of Belizean population live and work in the coastal zone and primarily depend on natural resources – agriculture, fisheries and tourism, which lead to extend burden on coastal resources. The issue is compounded by natural hazards, global warming, sea level rise, and the vulnerability of sensitive ecological systems to climate change.
• Marine products remain an important foreign exchange earner:
Belize is a small open economy which depends heavily on its natural resource base. Despite of 23 percent growth in GDP duringthe year period 2004 to 2013, Belize remains one of the less developed of the Caribbean countries (GDP per capita: USD $4,893 in 2014, World Bank). Marine products are big foreign exchange earners, contributing nearly 20% of domestic export in value, andan important income source for over 2000 families. Marine resources are also the primary attractions to Belize, luring international tourists, making the tourism the number-one industry, employing one out of every four Belizeans.
• Belize perceived as politically stable:
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary, its democracy is based on the Westminster model. Belize is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The National assembly is a bicameral legislature with an elected House of Representative and an appointed Senate. According to the survey results of “Political Values and Attitudes in Latin America”, conducted by Americas Barometer, Belizeans show high support for democracy, and high levelof political tolerance compared to its neighbouring Caribbean countries.
• More Belizean households living in poverty:
On the other hand, Belize Household Povertyrate goes up from 25% to 31% and extreme poverty household increase from 8% to 10% during the 2002-2009 periods according to the statistics from the Caribbean Development Bank. This has reaffirmed that political stability and the growth of economic does not guaranteereduction of poverty.
Rising poverty has affected almost all districts. In urban areas, the population in poverty status tend to be diversified in terms of industrial sector, such as construction, retails, and cleaning drains, just to name a few. In rural areas, including most coastal villages, over 40% of the poor population are dependent on the agriculture and fishing sector for their livelihoods.
Reasons for the increase of poverty have linked to disparities in distribution of income, high unemployment, insecure livelihoods and deficiencies in assets. Furthermore, the severe flooding in 2007 and 2008 accompanied by hurricane and tropical storm during the survey periods have badly hit several areas of the country, highlighting the population’s vulnerability to natural hazards. The household poverty rates have gone up more than doubled in the Corozal District (see Figure 3) mainly due to the decline in sugar cane sector and the big lossfrom 2008 floods as well as hurricane Dean in 2007.
• Stann Creek suffer the highest unemployment and Toledo, the highest poverty :
Belize has the unemployment rate of 11.7 percent in 2013. Females experience an unemployment rate of 20.2 percent, which more than triples than that of males, 6.1 percent. At the district level, the Stann Creek district records the highest unemployment rate (15.0%) while Toledo has the lowest at 8.0 percent. However, Toledo has the lowest labour force participation rate at 56.8 percent, below the country average, 64.6 percent, indicating Toledo has the highest population who are not economically active. Toledo has the most population under age (52%) , nearly 20% higher than the country average, 33.3 percent.
Poverty has gradually decreased in the Toledo District. Toledo is home to indigenous Maya (who comprise about 65% of the district’s 27,000 plus residents), Mopan, Garifuna, Creole, Mestizo, and East Indian populations. Levels of education, health, literacy, infrastructure and income in this district are consistently at the bottom of national averages. Nevertheless, the increase in agriculture sector, particularly in cocoa production, and various programmes from government and NGOs have improved employment situation in towns.
Figure 1: Unemployment Rates (%) by District, April, 2013
Source: Statistical Institute of Belize
Figure 2: Labour Force Participation Rates (%) by District, April, 2013
Source: Statistical Institute of Belize
Figure 3: Labour Force Participation Rates (%) by District, April, 2013
Source: Caribbean Development Bank
• Education and Violence:
In Belize, primary education for all children 5-14 is compulsory but the situation in secondary education remains unimpressive. The enrollment ratio in secondary education has improved very slowlyover the years from 60.5% of2001 to 65.1% of 2010. Household poverty would keep youngers away from schools due to financial concern.
Reports also reveal young males have much lower enrollment ratio than young females in several districts. How to encourage young males enroll and keep them stay in school is an important issue now the government is tackling. Gangs have fuelled high levels of violence in Belize, particularly in the southern part of Belize city, turning the country into one of the most violent in the world. According to the Ministry of Health, “Homicide and injury purposely inflicted by other persons” ranks the second leading cause of Deaths in Belize and the percentage continuesgrowing over the years (Table 2). Much of the violent crime in Belize occurs on the south side of Belize City, home to several street gangs.
The Strategy 2011-2016 of educational sector seeks to address this situation by focusing on improving access, quality and governance of education in Belize.
Table 1: Secondary Enrollment Ratio in Belize, 2010
Source: Statistical Institute of Belize
• NCDs become the main causes of death in Belize:
Belize is undergoing the epidemiological transition from communicable diseases (CDs) such as malaria to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as now more than 60% of the main causes of death in Belize are associated with NCDs. Life expectancy has improved; work needs to be done on decreasing in some preventable causes of death and illness (Table 2).
HIV/AIDS has remained as a major national health challenge. According to UNAIDS 2013 estimates, there were 3300 persons living with HIV in Belize. 90% of them were adults with aged 15 or above; women accounted for 47%. 241 new HIV cases were reported in 2013, with most of them being males and living in the Belize and Stann Creek Districts. According to the National AIDS Commission, sexual contact remains the most common mode of transmission whether between males and females or males and males.Women are more likely to get tested and receive treatment, especially if they are pregnant. That leaves a gap for men that need to be addressed. Social stigma and discrimination often deter males to go to testing or any doctor.In that regard, several national programs initiative by the Ministry of Health are focusing on males, such as increased HIV testing for men, the provision of condoms and also the creation of more treatment options for Belize.
Table 2: Leading causes of Deaths in Belize, 2012
Access to safe drinking water is an indicator used internationally to assess the capacity of the population to prevent water-borne diseases. In Belize, the water supply has improved over the years. Government reportsnearly 94.1% of Belizean households have accessed to safe water in 2011, 96.6% of urban dweller with access to safe drinking water, and 91.1% in rural areas. This puts Belize well on track to achieve their 2015 target of 100%. The figure of the Todelo district remainsthe country’s lowest, 83.1%.
Basic sanitation has also looked up. The census 2010 shows that in the Toledo district, less than 40% of households have flush toilet either linked to a sewer system or to a septic tank. 56.8% of households in this district use a pit latrine.Sustainable pit latrines have slowly been introduced by NGOs or church groups into the communities. These sustainable pit latrines would keep the village creek clean (where they bathe, wash clothes, etc.), but also keep the village grounds clean, lessening the health risk particularly for children. 15% of households in Toledo still have no access with any type of toilet facility, much higher than national average, 2.9%.
• High vulnerability to natural risks: (need to further explore)
With most of the north of the country and the entire coastal area consists of low-lying plains, Belize is particularly vulnerable tothe effects of extreme weather events. Between 2000 and 2014, Belize had been affected by at least elevenmajor meteorological events. The exposure to severe hazard events,which have the possibility of increased frequency and intensity, are critical challenges faced by policy makers as well as general public in Belize.Although natural disasters are becoming less deadly in Belize, they are becoming more costly in terms of total damages.
The global warming widespread across the globe has made the matter worse.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has estimated that the global average sea level has risen 10 to 25 cm in the past century and will rise 20 to 86 cm by the year 2100. In other words, sea level rise will continue into the next century, at an accelerated rate. Rising sea level puts both human development as well as natural habitats at risk. Low-lying coastal zone will likely face more frequent flooding as well as salt-water intrusion.
Table 3: List of historical storms 2000-2014
NAME DATE CATEGORY AT NEAREST
POINT TO BELIZE
1 KEITH 2000-10-01 Hurricane, Category 3
2 CHANTAL 2001-08-21 Tropical Storm
3 IRIS 2001-10-09 Hurricane, Category 4
4 DEAN 2007-08-21 Hurricane, Category 5
5 ARTHUR 2008-05-31 Tropical Storm
6 ALEX 2010-06-26 Tropical Storm
7 KARL 2010-10-15 Tropical Storm
8 MATTHEW 2010-10-25 Tropical Storm
9 RICHARD 2010-10-25 Hurricane, Category 1
0 HARVEY 2011-08-21 Tropical Storm
11 ERNESTO 2012-08-07 Hurricane, Category 1
Source; Belize National Meteorological Service
Figure 4: Seasonal Historical Occurrences of Tropical Storms and Hurricane of Belize (1900-2014)
Source; Belize National Meteorological Service
• Conservation of coral reef and sustainable livelihood
Healthy coral reefs can provide coastal protection from currents, waves and storms by having their rough surfaces and complex structures dissipating much of the force of incoming waves. Coral reef supplies a habitat for many commercially valuable species, and opportunities for tourism and recreation. Belize’s coral reef is a world-wide renowned and valuable resource. Its beauty and biodiversity attract tourists internationally. At home, it is an important feature of the national economy, livelihoods and cultural traditions. The World Resources Institute estimates that in 2008, the total value of coral-reef based recreation, tourism as well as fisheries contributed US$395-559 million annually to Belize economy. As a reference point, Belize Gross Domestic Product stands at US$1.29 billion in 2007 (World Bank).
To protect this natural treasure and barrier from hazards, conservation NGOs hasintroduced “Protected Area” to Belize in 1980s. A “Protected Area” is defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as “An area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means”. Marine protected area (MPA) is wildly perceived as an effective marine conservation as well as fisheries management tool. These conservation and fisheries benefits are believed particularly evident in “no-take” zone.
In Belize, there is a growing focus and appreciation of the need for more marine protected areas and for better management of coastal and marine environments. Most of coral reefs managing and monitoring effort is focusing within the marine protected areas, which most of them are co-managed by the Fisheries Department and several conservation NGOs and community-based organizations (CBOs).
20% of Belize’s marine area is protected, but less than 4% of these are zoned as ‘no take’ as most marine protected areas are zoned for general use (Gordon & Green 2011). Belize government targets of 20% of its marine territory under full protection. With the expansion of MPAs, it will need effective governance and management to achieve its conservation potential.
• Background and Approach
Marine protected area iswidely perceived as an effective conservation and fisheries management tool. However, MPA can also have abroad array of positive and negative impacts on social, economic, cultural, and political dimensions of local communities. Drawing on results from several studies of MPAs on the coastal communities, the followings state the perceptions of fishers on MPA impacts towards livelihood assets and outcomes of fishing communities as well as MPA governance and management. Their perceived impacts on livelihoods result from MPAs, which have undermined or supported for development of natural, social, human, physical and financial assets.
The paper is based on available data and historical maps and gives a basic understanding of the impact of MPA. It also helps to make s site visit more specific and be able to make out what are the gaps and deficiencies and what additional information needs to be collected.
• Management and governance of MPAs
The Legislative authority to declare MPAs in Belize falls under two ministries: the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Tourism, depending on what category an area will be classified under. The legislation used to declare MPAs is an extension of Forestry laws, Fishery laws, and the integration of new multiple-use concepts for marine reserves.
Besides above actors, Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) was established by the Government, and has responsibility for implementing and monitoring policies that govern the use and development of the coastal zone in Belize. The major functions of CZMAI are to advise the Government on matters related to the coastal zone, assist in the development of coastal programmes and projects, and plan policies as well as development guidelines.
For a long time, conservation efforts in Belize have been primarily led by civil society and grass root movements. Belize government has encouraged a co-management approach with conservation NGOs and community-based organizations, majorly due to lack of human and financial resources. Certain NGOs have strong links to financial source or funding; they have made strong commitment to local NGOs or community groups. In addition to providing financial support, they offer training and long-term mentoring. Programme for Belize has started this way since 1980s with the Massachusetts Audubon Society and later with The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) has benefited greatly through their association with TNC. The community-based organization – Friends of Nature attracted support from Conservation International, TNC and the Oak Foundation. Friends of Nature later merged with the Toledo Association for Sustainable Tourism and Empowerment (TASTE) in 2008 and renamed as Southern Environmental Association (SEA).
NGOs and CBOs have contributed by introducing the participatory approach on managing MPA by involving stakeholder, collecting data and promoting awareness, as well as increasing access to international funding sources. A recent assessment study on the management effectiveness of protected areas in Belize, conducted by the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO), reveals that marine protected areas being co-managing with NGOs or CBOs are generally perceived more effective than those managed by government alone.
In 2014, the data sharing agreement has been signed between and among government sectors, academics and NGOs/CBOs to manage MPAs more properly.
(note: Belize Audubon Society, Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute, Fisheries Department, Friends of Nature, Green Reef, The Nature Conservancy, Toledo Institute for the Development and Environment, University of Belize, Wildlife Conservation Society, and World Wildlife Fund have joined together to share spawning aggregation data.)
• Challenges of fishing villages in Belize
There are roughly 22 communities dotted along the coast based on the population census 2010, with the highest concentration in the Stann Creek and Toledo districts. The Stann Creek district contains more coastal communities than the Toledo district, for its population is larger.
According to the Belize Fisheries Department, no. of licensed fishermen, increased by 88% from 1369 in 1997 to 2,582 in 2011. On the other hand, no. of licensed fishing vessels decreased by 23%, from 1977 in 2007 to 752 in 2011, indicating commercial fishers employ larger vessels in fishing operations at present. In addition, up to 1000 Belizean workers may be employed in the value chain, doing in the processing, marketing, and service industry.
Spiny lobster fishery is the most important fishery in Belize. Total catch landings of spiny lobster had declined from 1990s. Although the landings have shown rather stable since 2006, the fishing effort has gone up due to increased no. of fishers, cost of fuel and cost of fishing gear. Fisheries department has advised no additional fishing effort to avoid over-exploitation. Queen conch is the second most important marine product. The landings of queen conch have shown a growing trend mainly due to increase fish effort. The same recommended has been made by Fisheries department.In recent years, development of deep slope fishery for Finfish is a priority of the Fisheries Department, particularly in the southern districts of Belize, to diversify the industry,create employment and reduce pressure ontraditional fisheries (lobster and conch).
There are also many fishermen unlicensed in Belize, particularly in southern districts.They are subsistence fishers and use their catch primarily to supply their family members and close friends as food intake, a small portion goes to local markets. Most of subsistence fishers use small dugout canoes, also referred to as dories, for fishing trips. Fisheries has been a male-dominated industry; only few women fish with subsistence purpose. Dories are particular important to the older fishermen and by those women who engage in fishing activities.
There’s no surprise that two main fishing seasons in Belize are the lobster season and the conch season. The lives of the commercial fishermen particularly in Sartenejarevolve very much around these seasons.The lobster season is closed from February 15 to June 14. The conch season is closed from July 1 to September 30.
Characteristics of fishing village between the north and the south can be diverse. Sarteneja, a fish community located in the North, is a fishing-centred and most developed fishing villagewhich has the most commercial fishers and involves the most in migratory fishing all along the coast of Belize. Tourism in this village is underdeveloped compared to Placencia due to its remoteness. On the other hand, the Southern village – Placencia today is a famous tourist destination which mostly transits from subsistence and commercial fishing to the tourism-centred economy. Seine Bight, a fish village in Stann Creekis more involvement with subsistence fishing. Hopkins liessomewhere in between. As for the Monkey River Village in Toledo, it’s small village with population around 180 people, mostly of Creole ethnicity. The economic activities are mainly subsistence fishing and tourism.
Although there is no research specifically on poverty focusing on coastal or fishing communities, the issue arises in several of studies undertaken by NGOs and international agencies. Fishers are often identified by stakeholders as the most vulnerable group in general. The county poverty assessment of 2010 shows that 55.3% of the rural population and 27.9% of the urban population are living below the poverty line. The fishing villages, particularly in the southern Belize generally fit this description.
Table 2: Stann Creek Coastal Population, 2010
Source: Statistical Institute of Belize
Table 3: Toledo Coastal Population, 2010
Source: Statistical Institute of Belize
Fishers Cooperatives and Associations
• According to the Belize Fisheries Department, No. of licensed fishermen increased by 88%, from 1369 in 1997 to 2,582 in 2011. In addition, up to 1000 Belizean workers may be employed in the processing, marketing, service industry and other sectors. The secondary sector, fishermen cooperatives, employs over 100 workers. The primary role of cooperatives in Belize is the commercialization and export of the catch from members. The cooperatives also have a key role in advising the government on fisheries policy. More than 50% of all licensed fishermen are members of one of the four cooperatives in Belize. However, many fishermen, particularly in southern Belize, are unlicensed. Furthermore, the local, community-based fishermen’s associations have emerged in the recent years. These associations are generally funded and supported by NGOs. Both the cooperatives and associations are important actors in the fisheries sector.
• Cooperatives are established under the Belize Cooperatives Act and they generally focus their attention on the purchase, production and marketing of a product, and distribution and management of profits. Associations are established under Belize Companies Act and have limited liability. Their main role is to engage with government for improved management of fishing industry on behalf of fishers, which cooperatives share that role too.
• Sarteneja Fishermen Association (SFA) is a community-based membership organization and wasformed in 2007. Its main purposes are tolook for a way to pursue alternative livelihoods for its members either bya part-time or full-time substitute for fishing, andto seekto reduce the dependence of both fishersand the community on the reef.Its members has grown fast and reached to 120 in the second year of its establishment. Some of the initial livelihood ideas that they explored include Tilapia farming, pig rearing, deep sea fishing, crab trap fishing, and bee keeping. Those projects are seldom linked with tourism industry that is because most of the its members have low educational level or illiterate. In contrast, the SartenejaTourguide’s Association was formed by fishermen who are literate, English-speaking, and who have better change to succeed in the tourism industry.
• Studies revealthe tension and conflict between associations and co-operatives. The co-operatives often see associations as rivals who are competing for grant money and funding. The co-operatives also fear that associations have become large enough to possibly form a rival co-operative. Politics, fear of membership loss, and fear of loss of funding have combined to cause tension between associations and co-operatives.
Challenges of governance and management of MPAs
• Attitudes of fishers toward MPAs serve as one of the key elements of success of MPAs, as well as important reference for future implementation and adaptation of MPAs. On the positive note, most fishers are aware of MPAs and often associated the benefits of MPAs with increased tourism opportunities, coral reef protection, ways to deter of illegal foreign fishers.
• Fishers are most concerned about selective and inadequate enforcement, particularly related to enforcement, which can lead to feelings of unfairness and general negative attitudes toward MPAs. Others such as illegal fishing by foreign fishermen or Belizean fishermen selling to the foreign black market, corrupt politicians having endorsing applications for fishing permits, corrupt enforcement officer (or “rangers”) accepting bribes and turning a blind eye to illegal poaching, recreational fishing and tourist-related marine activities often having privileges or exceptions areall the factors that frustrate fishers.Moreover, boundaries of some of the MPAs are not properly marked also can create conflicts.Fishers also complain that they waste their time with unproductive meetings which doesnot respond to their needs, or only provideinsignificant small projects that makes no difference to their living conditions.
• Several studies suggest a greater community participation in decision making, better enforcement of regulations, improved dissemination of information (on-going and updated), and clearer demarcation of boundariesare important aspects of effective management.
• NGOs have served as effective mentors to strengthen community-based organizations through training and empowering these community groups capability of managing their respective protected areas.Here will be a potential win-win situation in maximizing the conservation success of NGOs while at the same time strengthening communities groups to take over co-management of the protected areas adjacent to their communities in order to make sure a long-term development (exit strategy).
Source: Walker & Walker 2011
Fishers perceptions towards MPAs
• Natural Asset:
Overall, most fishers think MPA is successful. They say that MPA has positive outcomes on conservation of coral reef, the booming of tourism industry (at least for some villages) and providing alternative job opportunities. Fishers also believe that MPA deters of illegal foreign fishers from Honduras and Guatemala because they would need licenses to fish in those areas. However, fisheries have mixed reactions regarding the impact of MPA on increasing of fish catch. Some say they need scientific evidence and prove MPAs can increase fish catch through spillover of fish into local fisheries.They are worried the increases in the number and size of reserves will have negative impact on livelihood strategies and outcomes. Complaints arealso made about “the most productive areas” being chosen as sites for MPAs. This brings about the issue of how the MPA sites are chosen to begin with, and some fishermen complain that they are not involved in the processes to establish sites, which lead to lack of support in those areas.
Fishers also worry that coastal development would attract more and more wealth foreign investors or retirees, and those localswho want to gain instant wealth would sell property to foreigner hands. They sayMPA could accelerate the sale and privatization of the land, beach and caye, soon they won’t afford to buy land or access to beach. Few fishers see themselves are the cause of coastal degradation and over-exploitation of resources. They blame it on the tourism industry for overexploitation.
Fishers put natural disasters and overexploitation as the main threats to their livelihood in MPAs.It’s no surprise because Belize continues to be vulnerable to natural risks in combination with land degradation and the effects of climate change. Government’s efforts in preparedness for natural disasters present additional benefits, but it is apparent that particular vulnerabilities to such disasters are greater for more dependent and excluded populations. A solid locallybased designs need to be in place.
(Opportunities: improved sanitation, solid waste management and vulnerability reduction).
• Social Asset:
Fishers feel MPA creates inter-community conflicts. They feels unequal distribution of benefits between fishers and tour guide and dive operation. Tourists are allowed diving or recreational fishing in some preserved areas but fishers are not allowed to fish or forced to use certain gear. Tour guides or dive operators are often retired fishers who have high school degree or have access to micro finance. Tensions are also found between fisher’s co-operatives and associations, competing for members and funds.
Conflictual relationship can also be found between fishers with governors and managers for fishers not always feel the MPA establishing process are participatory. Some fishers complainmeetings are held only when the decisions were made. The meetings are to inform fishers and have agreement paper signed by fishers. The information about the meetings are not always reached to fishers. Mistrust between fishers and enforcement officials (or rangers) presents an issue too. Rangers are trained as Fisheries Officers and thus have authority to enforce relevant sections under the Belize Fisheries Act. Nevertheless, fishers often complain about the unfairness and corruption of rangers.
The influx of immigrants not only impact the cultural dynamics of most coastal villages but viewed as a threat to job security and job opportunities by some villagers. Garifuna fishers complain being denied from tourist-related employment opportunities due to discrimination. Immigrants willingness to work for low wages have also worsened the situation.
Undermining relationships between communities reveal in studies.Some communities feel left out compared to the community with more fishermen, more money, better boats and more equipment.
• Human Asset:
All the conservation NGOs have carried out community education and outreach projects. This has resulted in increase of environmental activism in Belize. Most fishers are aware of the importance of environmental protection and some become activists. There are vocational training or alternative livelihood programs initiated by NGOs or CBOs, though its effects can be varied. Some NGOs and organizations are encouraging the youth to get good educations and provide scholarships for children of fishermen. The alternative livelihoods strategies emanating from the creation of MPAs are often related to tourism and MPA management. MPA can provide the management jobs to the locals as rangers, as managers, as contractors or as maintenance staff. Women are empowered and benefited by the job creation.
Tourism development is often cited by fishers as the main factor to environmental degradation. Some worry MPA will undermine the traditional livelihoods and use of traditional knowledge. Their cultural heritage will face the threat of fading away gradually.
There are many cultures in Belize: Mestizo/Spanish/Latino(52.9%), Creole(25.9%), Maya(11.3%), Garifuna(6.1%), Mennonite(3.6%), East Indian(3.9%) and small portion of Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese), Hindu as well as Lebanon. Different cultures may have different religions, and ways of doing things, including dealing with natural disasters and other big events.
Languages should also be take into account seriously when doing advocacy and communications. One lesson coming from the experience of one conservation NGO shows the language barriers existing between the Spanish-only speaking fishermen particularly in Sarteneja, Corozal and the non-Spanish speaking government/NGO employees.
• Physical Asset(in process):
Most of subsistence fishers use small dugout canoes for fishing trips and often equip with bait, hooks and lines, and fish near the shore within close distance fishing grounds and don’t usually access to the marine management areas. They often don’t have license and are less affected by the fisheries management regulations while the same time, they cannot easily relocate if fish stocks decline.
Fishers agree that there has been improvement on several social services, such as potable water, garbage collection, homes for the elderly, polyclinics, telephone,
electricity, and schools but they don’t associate the improvement with the implementation of MPA.
Nevertheless, fishers cite the creation of MPA has resulted in the decreased usage of destructive gear such as gill nets from damaged habitants.
In terms of markets, resorts, hotels and restaurants are becoming an important supplementary market for fishers. None of fishers say they can’t find markets for their catch.
(Opportunity: Fisheries emergency response tool and guidance)
• Financial Asset:
Fishers feel MPA benefit the tourist sector but not fisheries. Fishers do not feel that MPA attributes positive economic gain in terms of fishing. In fact, some co-operatives are forced to close down due to low production.
There are no banks or credit unions in some small fishing villages such as Seine Bight. Any financial business must be conducted at neighbouring town or village. The fact that there aren’t any financial institutions in villages that villagers need to travel to seek loans or conduct basic transactions may be a limiting factor to the development of the community, and may create a hassle for the vulnerable groups.
Perceivedinfluence of MPA on livelihood resources
Capital assets Positive influence of MPAs Negative influence of MPAs
Natural Higher level of employment and diverse livelihood option through increased tourism opportunities, marine resource protection,
and deterring of illegal foreign fishers.
Mixed feeling on fisheries benefits
Potentially environmental impacts caused by coastal development and over-exploitation of resources, along with degradation due to the increased number of visitors to the MPA.
Increase of the number and size of reserves would undermine access to marine resources.
MPAs attract foreign investors or retirees and would undermine local land ownership
Social Greater participation in natural resource management
Greater community organization Creation of inter-community conflicts due to unequal distribution of benefits (tour guide and dive operation vs. fishermen)
Tension between Fishermen associations and co-operatives.
Conflictual relationship between fishers and governors and managers.
Mistrust between fishers and enforcement officials (or “rangers”)
Tension between different ethnic groupsresulting from job insecurity
Undermines relationships between fishing villages
Human NGOs and CBOs carried out communityeducation and outreach projects.
Vocational training or alternative livelihood programs initiated by NGOs or CBOs
Increased empowerment of women through more job opportunities
Increase level of environmental activism Undermines traditional livelihoods and cultural practices
Physical Decreased usage of destructive gear such as gill nets.
Resorts and restaurants offer an important supplementary market for fishers
(Lack of fisheries emergency response tool and guidance? check)
Financial Alternative or non-extractive employment opportunities such as tour guiding and water taxi operation/dive operation
Some NGOs and CBOs provide start-up fund. Implementation of the MPAs does not contribute economic gain for fisher.
Fishers Livelihood Strategies and Outcome (in process)
Perceivedimpactof MPA onlivelihoodstrategiesandoutcomes
There’s no doubt themostdiscussedandworryingeffectof the creationofthe MPAs for fishers is theimpactonlivelihood strategies and outcomes.As a result, some fishers have actively or passively shifted their livelihood strategies.
No. of fishermen in Seine Bight and Hopkins are both declining due to several reasons, old generation retiring but fewer young folks willing to pick up the profession; the booming of tourism industry on the Placencia Peninsula which offered alternative livelihood means; the introduction of fishing regulations and fishing license system; the cost of fuel or the cost of fishing gear; job opportunities creating form NGOs and CBOs.With a high unemployment rate and given the seasonal nature of fishing and tourism to a certain extent, job stability often fluctuate and that leavessome villagers with no other choice than to take up the short-term/low-wage jobs as soon as they become available.
Furthermore, the livelihoods strategies tend to be diverse among different wealth groups. Commercial fishers who have boats have the advantage of turning their boats for recreational fishing activities. The same economic opportunities are out of reach for subsistence fishers, particularly those who are older with low education, or for female fishers.There also seems to be a significant portion of households in southern districts depending on “remittances” as an important source of income.
1. The purpose of this report is to explore the cooperation opportunities for humanitarian NGOs (the red cross, for example) and conservation NGOs (the Nature Conservancy, for example) working together to enhance the livelihoods of fishing villages, especially fisher folks who are identified the most vulnerable group. Marine protected area (MPA) is wildly perceived as an effective marine conservation as well as fisheries management tool. MPA is an approach widely adopted by conservation NGOs to protect coral reef and valuable fish stock. However, MPA would bring either positive and negative impacts to stakeholders. The question is how to secure livelihoods and nutrition of fishing communities while doing the marine conservation? 2. This report will be from humanitarian NGOs point of view. What and how humanitarian can work with conservation NGOs? The country which will be focused on is Belize. Please see the attached file for background information. The most important part of this report will be the strategies and plans of action. Possible strategies: a. Alternative livelihood approach: to take away fishing pressure and provide alternative income. Please identify some alternatives that can be used in Belize. b. Communication and outreach. c. Others – such as Livelihood approaches focusing on women 3. I’m not a native speaker. Plain English is good enough. 4. I have a list of reference.