How Belize is tipping the scales for sustainable fishing worldwide
Belize just redefined marine conservation, entrusting its fishermen with a nationwide system of multi-species fishing rights for all its coastal fishing waters.
But Belize’s move also has implications for the rest of the world. The government blazed a pioneering trail, with a powerful example that may prove a tipping point for sustainable harvests of coastal fisheries anywhere.
Scaling up a proven system of fishing rights
For years, seafood harvesters off Alaska, Canada, Chile, Iceland, Namibia, Norway and New Zealand enjoyed advantages their tropical colleagues lacked: secure fishing rights.
Empowering fisherfolk with rights brought dramatic gains for biodiversity, food provision and coastal communities in temperate waters. It transformed fishermen into responsible, long-term stewards of the sea. And recovering fish populations reward adherence to limits with longer seasons, lower risks, higher revenues, better product and more full-time jobs.
But it begged the question: Can it scale?