Belize Ponders Critical Protections for Tarpon, Bonefish, Permit

June 6, 2008 By: Marshall Cutchin

It’s not often that an opportunity to save fishing for the next generation comes to a vote, but that’s just what’s happening right now in the Belize legislature. Thanks to an effort lead by Turneffe Flats lodge owner Craig Hayes, who helped fund an economic impact study showing the enormous importance of tarpon, permit and bonefish to the Belizean economy, the government may be about to designate those three fish as catch-and-release only.
Here’s a great opportunity for you to get personally involved by writing a supporting letter to the Belizean ministers of tourism and fishing so that it can be presented by Hayes at an important June 24 cabinet meeting. The ministers are already behind the change, but they need a “show of hands” from U.S. anglers, travelers and business people to keep the momentum going forward.
If you believe that these three fish are more valuable caught and released than they are in a fish market, please take a few minutes to write an actual letter — not an e-mail — expressing your thoughts.
Read the extended entry for details on how to write a supporting letter.

You might include the approximate amount you spent on a trip to Belize in Belize (lodge, guides, tips, visits to Mayan ruins, etc. Not tackle you bought in the U.S., just what was spent in Belize.)
Address your letter to:
Honorable Minister Heredia
Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation
PO Box 325
Belize City
Honorable Minister Montero
Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture
PO Box 148
Belize City
DO NOT send them to the ministers in Belize, but rather to:
Craig Hayes
Turneffe Flats
P.O. Box 10670
Bozeman, MT 57719
Craig is leading this fight. He will compile the letters into a binder and present them in Belize at the June 24 meeting. So he needs all letters by June 10 if possible.
Incidentally, if you want a copy of the full study or an “executive summary,” contact Hayes at [email protected].