By Sarah Adams, Expedition Manager, Sarteneja, Belize. Blue Ventures Belize staff and volunteers joined the Belize Fisheries Department in January’s Seagrass Net survey. The Fisheries Department have a base in Bacalar Chico, at the San Juan Ranger Station, and Blue Ventures were invited to join Fisheries biologist, Henry Brown, and new manager, Juan Chub, for seagrass surveys at one of their sites. The Fisheries department monitor two sites quarterly for the global Seagrass Net project.
Henry gave a lecture at BCDC on methodology and BV joined their team for a day and a half collecting the data. This activity takes place on the back reef, and involves diving and snorkelling, depending on transect depth. 12 quadrants are placed along three transects of varying depth and data is recorded, including sea grass density, species identification, bite marks, temperature and salinity. A sample is taken from each quadrant, which is then cleaned and sorted, before being sent to a Seagrass Net centre in the USA.
Collaboration on this has mutual benefit: Fisheries appreciated the extra manpower for the task, as it is fairly labour-intensive, repetitive and time-consuming, while volunteers can see that their participation is useful and they enjoy doing something different. Blue Ventures Belize looks forward to continuing in this collaboration on Seagrass Net as it will continue to strengthen our relationship with the Fisheries department, locally and nationally, as well as diversifying the activities on offer to our volunteers.