Dr. Jacque Carter is no stranger to
San Pedro and
has definitely played a major role in creating awareness to protect the
reef and assisted in making Hol Chan the first marine reserve in the
Caribbean back in the early 1980’s.
Dr. Jacque Carter is currently the
Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of New England.
In addition to his responsibilities at the University of New England,
Dr. Carter is a research conservation fellow with the Wildlife
Conservation Society (formerly the New York Zoological Society.) He has
published numerous articles in national and international journals,
serves on editorial review boards, has delivered several invited
lectures on the topic of reef ecology and conservation, and is
currently at work on a book entitled, “The Coral Reef And Coastal
Fishes of Belize”, a companion to the book “Fresh Water Fish of Belize”.
His newest project on Ambergris Caye
Ponics which involves raising fish that were traditionally common in
these waters including the gray snapper, prized hog fish and especially
the Nassau grouper because of the history of the fish in Belize.
The Nassau grouper, a large, colorful
for its spectacular spawning ritual, has all but disappeared in much of
the Caribbean, although there is a lot of pressure from environmental
organizations to protect the species. Belize has agreed to protect 11
spawning sites from commercial fishing in a move to save the fish from
The grouper, which can grow up to
three feet and
weigh up to 55 pounds, is a highly prized food source and a
commercially valuable export whose spawning ritual makes it an easy
target for fishermen. Each year, at the winter full moons in December
and January, thousands of groupers congregate at sites off the coast of
Belize to mate.
Local commercial fishermen are well
aware of their
tendency to “group” at the same time each year. So like the Nassau
grouper, the fishermen gather at the spawning sites ready to reel in
their big catch. The problem was that they where dinner before the
groupers had time to reproduce. Scientist have documented an 80 %
decrease in grouper populations since the 1970’s. There used to be
about 15,000 groupers that aggregated at Glover reef during the winter
full moon. Today, there are about 3,000, at most.
Surveys conducted by scientist at
show that if fishing Nassau groupers continues at the current rate,
groupers there will disappear, too, completely vanishing by 2013. With
this in Mind Dr. Jacque plans to raise the fish in a contained
environment, repopulate the Nassau grouper in protected marine reserves
and even breed enough to supply local restaurants with fresh fish. He
hopes to develop a system that can be franchised and used on other
islands like Ambergris Caye.
Unlike other systems which disturb the
this sustainable aqua culture system will not affect the environment
and they will even be able to raise seaweed and oysters. While on the
island Dr. Carter conducted a survey at the restaurants to see how many
fish are in demand. The project will include a visitor center that will
be located behind the Belize Legacy Resort which is working in
collaboration with Dr. Jacque Carter.
The project seems very promising
thanks to The
University of New England, Green Reef, Belize Legacy Resort, The
Charles and Ann Lindbergh foundation and Dr. Jacque Carter who is
making it possible for the Nassau grouper be around for generations to
come. Read More
TO THE EDITOR
We are getting a group together to bring out an
inspector Wednesday Jan
30 to license boats and give the practical for captain's
Contact Wil at 226-2716 for more info.
The next North AC Neighborhood Watch meeting will be at 12 Noon,
January 26th, at the Palapa Bar. The NACHOS will meet immediately
OF THE DAY
There is no revenge so complete