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BFFA ends successful countrywide membership drive

Updated: Feb 13

The Belize Flats Fishery Association (BFFA) has recruited 60 members across the entire country of Belize with more to be registered. BFFA initiated its membership drive in October 2023 and culminated in late January 2024.

The association was formed to unify the voice and action of flats fishing guides and stakeholders for increased professional standards, better protection of the ecosystems and improved livelihoods.

BFFA Board of Directors (left to right): Jorge Rodriguez, Eworth Garbutt, Dennis Garbutt, Michael Peralta and Chris Leeman

The official launch of BFFA and its first membership drive was on October 19th of 2023 in San Pedro Town. The event started with a meet and greet session followed by the official announcement and and introduction of the Board of Directors representing the north to south of Belize. Guides in attendance gave positive feedback and there was a unanimous support for BFFA. In the North Zone, a total of 14 guides attended which included 13 guides from San Pedro Town and 1 guide from Sarteneja Village. Also in attendance at the launch were local news journalists, fishing lodge managers and members of the community.

Other membership drives were conducted in Placencia Village on October 20th 2023. In this South Zone a total of 20 guides were recruited from Placencia Village (9), Hopkins Village (2), Independence (4), Hopeville (1), Monkey River (1) and Punta Gorda (3). Altogether, the BFFA recorded a total of 34 new memberships in 2023.

Full house of flats fishing guides in Southern Zone

Recruited Caulker Caulker members from Central Belize

In January 2024, the BFFA conducted other membership events in 4 major coastal communities in the north and central zones. A total of 26 guides were recruited in 2024 from Sarteneja (10), Caye Caulker (7), Hopkins (4), Belize City (3) and San Pedro (2). were also recruited bringing the total numbers of BFFA members to 60 altogether.

Board of Directors will soon conduct a planning meeting for 2024 and then address its members on issues gathered from their input regarding the continued use of gillnets in coastal Belize, enforcement by authorities that affects flats fishing activities, habitat destruction by coastal development, fishing pressure, professionalism and ethics in fishing to mention a few.

A BIG thanks is given to flats fishing guides for their interest and participation as well to El Pescador Lodge and Villas, Blue Bonefish Lodge and Villas, Cayo Frances, and Garbutt's Fishing Lodge and Action Belize for their support to guides.

Photo gallery of membership drives:

Sarteneja membership drive generates first women members.

Hopkins with promising next generation of flats fishing guides

Belize City representing central Belize with more to be registered.

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