Fishers4Science is a Belize-based non-profit organization that supports a unique collaboration of scientists and shark fishers passionately working towards the common goal of a sustainable shark fishery in Belize. United in our efforts to ensure the longevity of sharks in Belizean waters for years to come, we have come together to reduce fishing pressure, collect important information about sharks and the shark fishery as well as increase the presence of fisherfolk in everything from data collection to management decisions. We believe that successful, effective management and conservation comes from the ground up and starts with inclusivity.
We are built on a foundation of four pillars:
Research Conservation, Community and Education.
Our working relationships began in early 2019 where shark fishers were hired to charter research expeditions to assist biologists in conducting research and data collection. Resulting in massive success, this working relationship continues today and is what inspired the inception of Fishers4Science in 2023. Through our united effort we have developed and established a new cost-effective method of monitoring shark landings and assessing the fishery for sustainability. Our findings and data contributed to the justification of a newly implemented 2-mile buffer zone where shark fishing is restricted to help the recovery of important reef sharks, and will continue to help Belize monitor their shark fishery for sustainability for years to come. Additionally, our data collection has assisted Belize be more compliant with their obligations to a treaty, known as CITES, which is dedicated to protecting endangered species from the threats of international trade. We’ve had exciting new discoveries as well, like catching a Greenland shark off of Glover's Reef Atoll, and we continue to track understudied movements of apex predators like tiger and great hammerhead sharks.
The leading cause of decline in shark populations globally is overfishing, therefore fisherfolk play an essential role in mitigating this threat. Here at Fishers4Science we appreciate and value the role fisherfolk play in shark research and conservation. That is why it is our goal to be a platform where fishers and researchers can unite to work hand in hand with managers. The cohesion between these three stakeholders is paramount in achieving sustainability as well as filling critical shark-fisheries data gaps here in Belize.