Assessing and Managing Small-Scale Fisheries in Belize

  • Rod FujitaEmail author
  • Amy Tourgee
  • Ramon Carcamo
  • Lawrence Epstein
  • Todd Gedamke
  • Gavin McDonald
  • Jono R. Wilson
  • James R. Foley
Part of the MARE Publication Series book series (MARE, volume 19)


Belize is a global leader in marine conservation, widely recognized for innovative and effective ecosystem-based management. The management of small-scale fisheries in Belize is a recent example. Historically, Belize’s commercial fisheries had been managed as an open access resource. In recent years, the number of fishermen and fishing pressure has increased, exacerbating the risk of overfishing and overcapitalization and threatening to erode profits, reduce food production, impact livelihoods, and adversely impact ecosystems. Belize is engaged in two initiatives to reduce this risk: (1) the implementation of spatial secure fishing privileges, known as Managed Access in Belize and (2) the development of an adaptive fisheries assessment and management framework. In this chapter, we describe these two initiatives and highlight the factors associated with successful outcomes observed, thus far, including the engagement of fishermen in the design and implementation of Managed Access and the adaptive management framework. We also discuss the importance of joint workplanning and execution and the need for flexibility and adaptation as new information is obtained and as political and other conditions change.


Belize Ecosystem management Secure fishing rights Adaptive management 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rod Fujita
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amy Tourgee
    • 1
  • Ramon Carcamo
    • 2
  • Lawrence Epstein
    • 1
  • Todd Gedamke
    • 3
  • Gavin McDonald
    • 4
  • Jono R. Wilson
    • 5
  • James R. Foley
    • 6
  1. 1.Environmental Defense FundSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Belize Fisheries DepartmentBelize CityBelize
  3. 3.MER ConsultantsStuartUSA
  4. 4.Marine Science Institute and Bren School of Environmental Science & ManagementUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  5. 5.The Nature Conservancy, Bren Hall, University of California at Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA
  6. 6.Toledo Institute for Development and EnvironmentPunta Gorda, Toledo DistrictBelize

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