Experiences of the Belize Spawning Aggregation Working Group. Proceedings of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute. 59:455-462. Gibson, J., R.F. Pott, G. Paz, I. Majil and N. Requena. 2007.
This paper chronicles the history of the Belize Spawning Aggregation Working Group from its inception following a national survey of many of Belize’s Nassau grouper spawning sites conducted during the 2000 – 2001 aggregation period. It documents how the Group evolved and developed its objectives, and highlights its main achievements, one of which was the passage of legislation that provided full protection to 11 spawning sites and introduced a closed season for the Nassau grouper. The Group was formed in response to the drastic decline in numbers of spawning Nassau groupers, which was dramatically brought to the attention of many concerned organizations at a historic workshop held in July 2001 in Belize City. The Group assumed the responsibility of taking action to stem the decline. Its success has depended to a large extent on its diverse membership, which is drawn from government agencies, NGOs and the private sector. The invaluable contribution made by many fishers, who unselfishly shared their traditional knowledge of spawning banks with researchers and managers, was also a major factor in the Group’s success and the protection of many spawning sites. Members are interested in sharing their experience with other similar groups that are being developed within the Mesoamerican reef region.