WCS Helps Belize Put Eyes in the Sky

July 23, 2014

With technical assistance from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Belize Fisheries Department initiated a new monitoring program using unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e. conservation drones) to curtail unsustainable levels of illegal fishing.

Seeking to gain a high-tech edge over illegal fishers, the Government of Belize will use “eyes in the sky” to enforce fishing regulations in the biodiverse Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve and other reef systems in what is the first use of conservation drones to monitor marine protected areas.

With technical assistance from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Belize Fisheries Department initiated a new monitoring program using unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e. conservation drones) to curtail unsustainable levels of illegal fishing. Besides coastal development, unregulated and unreported fishing are some of the largest threats to Belize’s fishing industry.

“Belize has been a leader in the establishment of marine protected areas, including the world-famous Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, but fishing regulations are difficult to enforce on the open sea,” said Julio Maaz, Communities Fisheries Coordinator for WCS’s Marine Program in Belize. “Drones offer a means of improving the rate of detection of illegal activities at a fraction of the cost required for patrol vessels.”

Read the press release >>

Read the New York Times article >>

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