It’s hard to believe a more than a week has passed since we wrapped up the 2012 Tres Pescado Slam in San Pedro. Hopefully, trophy or not, each and every one of you had unforgettable time fishing in Belize this year. I walk away once again having seen with my own eyes a thriving Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit fishery in Belize. I have a feeling each of you shared similar sentiments when you recounted your experiences upon your return home. I'll not forget the large schools of Bonefish tailing, feeding and of course running from errant flies; maddening Permit from 3 pounds to 30; and yea, a few Tarpon – more than a few for those who made the run to Long Cay.
The fun we had at the tournament underscores the reason for my letter – we, as a group, have an opportunity to make our fishing world a better place. We have an opportunity to Nurture Belize and leave a legacy that both our children and our children's children can enjoy. If we don't seize this opportunity, odds are nobody will.
Belize shares the same reality as everywhere else in the world, conservation resources are limited and there are other higher priorities. So the question that I grapple with is; whose responsibility is it to ensure the Belize fishery does not get loved to death and enjoys the understanding and protection it deserves? The best answer I can find – it’s up to all of us.
There is much good news about our beloved fishery. It's healthy, thriving and not behind the eight ball like so many other places in the world. This Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit fishery enjoys the luxury of federal protection that prohibits harvest of these three key species (although enforcement remains an issue). Belize was the first country on the planet to enact these types of protections and we have the efforts of both individuals (just like us) and governmental staffers to thank for this great accomplishment. Because the fishery is healthy, we are in a wonderful position to craft conservation management tools that are proactive and not reactive. When things get reactive it's because it’s too late. Just ask the guys in Texas and Homosassa about their Tarpon fishing, or the guys in Islamorada about their bonefish fishing. How about Boca Grande? They’re all struggling in reactive mode, with poor results so far.
We are at a crossroads and the choice is ours, do nothing and see how it goes or actively participate in an effort to Nurture Belize. I say the time is now to take up the reigns and be pro-active. Each of us can take a wonderful step in the right direction and join the effort to Nurture Belize. The easiest way to do this is to financially support "Nurture Belize" an effort of Bonefish Tarpon Trust (BTT...www.tarbone.org). Between the tournament proceeds, generous contributions from the tournament sponsors and additional contributions by AM Films and Yellow Dog Travel we have raised $14,000.00 already. Our goal is to raise $45,000.00 and when we get there we will be able to fund a year long, country-wide fisheries mapping project that will use data collected from guides, anglers and other sources to help us understand the locations of critical habitat for Bonefish, Tarpon & Permit. With this information in hand, we can work to support proactive efforts aimed at keeping this great fishery in good shape.
The time for action is NOW and Nurture Belize is a great way to get involved. Attached to this email is a short presentation that explains much more about the specifics of the mapping project, including how it will be done and why the information is important. I can assure you every dollar contributed will be used to support the efforts of Nurture Belize. Plus, since BTT is a non-profit 501(c)3, your contributions are tax-deductable.
If you would like to contribute and support this opportunity, please send checks payable to Bonefish Tarpon Trust and just write in the memo line “Nurture Belize”.
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
24 Dockside Lane, PMB 83
Key Largo, FL 33037
If you have questions, drop me a line or shoot me a note.
Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to seeing you all in 2013.
230 East Ohio Street, 701
Chicago, IL 60611
- Wil Flack, Director Tres Pescado Slam Tournament
- Aaron J. Adams, Ph.D.
Director of Operations
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Senior Scientist, Mote Marine Lab