At the fourth International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) held in St Johns Newfoundland, Canada, Julianne Robinson from The Nature Conservancy explained how Belize's waters can offer more than just fishing income to support those living in coastal communities. The focus of this income diversification - seaweed mariculture.

Fishing has long formed part of the Belize culture, providing an important source of food and income for its many coastal communities.

Like many coastal nations, Belize’s fisheries have seen declines in fisheries from over exploitation and destructive fishing practices. Increasing coastal development, and climate change impacts on the ocean adds to the pressures on the low-tech, small-scale fisheries that dominate Belize’s coastal communities. Income diversification is increasingly becoming a necessity.

Working with Belize’s Placencia Fishermen Cooperative, Ms Robinson and colleagues at The Nature Conservancy developed and tested pilot mariculture farms. Working with the local community has been a central feature in the development of the mariculture project, which focuses on the red seaweed Euchemia isiforme.

This article was written for (and can be read in full at) The Fish Site.

Belize could see a growth in seaweed harvesting - like seen here in Tanzania. Credit Imke.stahlmann/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Belize could see a growth in seaweed harvesting - like seen here in Tanzania. Credit Imke.stahlmann/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)