Thursday, July 18, 2024

National Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) Stock Assessment


The Belize Fisheries Department held a National Spiny Lobster Stock Assessment Workshop from June 20–24, 2022 in Belize City in partnership with Environmental Defense Fund and with expert support from Cuba’s Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras (CIP)/ Center for Fisheries Research). The workshop convened scientists, fishery managers, and other stakeholders to conduct a scientific assessment of the spiny lobster population in Belize to inform the sustainable management of the lobster fishery.
The workshop benefited from expert technical support from Ms. Ofelia Morales Fadragas, a lobster expert from CIP; Dr. Kendra Karr, Senior Scientist from Environmental Defense Fund and input from representatives of the Belize Fisheries Department, Environmental Defense Fund, Toledo Institute for Development and Environment, Belize Audubon Society, Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association, Wildlife Conservation Society, and The Nature Conservancy.
During the workshop, participants analyzed the status of the lobster fishery based on fishery-dependent data collected over more than a decade, using scientific performance indicators and reference points defined as part of Belize’s adaptive management framework. The workshop also provided an opportunity for Ms. Morales Fadragas and fishery managers and scientists in Belize to exchange experiences and tools to improve spiny lobster management in the region, and to continue to promote ties between Cuba and Belize around marine conservation, fisheries management, and other priority areas for both countries.
The exercise culminated in a ceremony held on Friday, June 24 at Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza in which Ms. Morales Fadragas presented the key findings of the lobster assessment. Remarks were provided by Ms. Kennedy Carrillo, CEO of the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation; Mr. Rigoberto Quintana, Acting Fisheries Administrator; and Her Excellency Maria Caridad Balaguer Labrada, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Belize.
Belize Fisheries Department and the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation would like to express its gratitude to Ms. Morales Fadragas, CIP, the Republic of Cuba, Environmental Defense Fund, and the workshop participants for supporting a robust assessment of the lobster population in Belize.

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