The more seaweed farmers, the merrier! Our seaweed farmers teamed up with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to train 10 members of the Wabafu Fishermen Association in sustainable seaweed farming. We hope to see more and more fishermen starting their own sustainable seaweed farms in Belize!
With funding from the Resilient Central America, this three-day training was conducted in September of this year as a joint effort facilitated by the Placencia Seaweed Farmers and The Nature Conservancy [TNC provides the trainees with all the necessary theoretical tools, and the seaweed farmers bring the trainees to their island for hands-on training]. During the practical training, the participants were taught everything they needed to know about the two types of seaweed cultivation techniques, farm building+designing, and harvesting+drying techniques. In other words, the trainees are now equipped to become sustainable seaweed farmers themselves!
The ten participants are members of the Wabafu Fishermen Association: The Nature Conservancy focuses on converting fisherfolk into seaweed farmers to relieve the pressure on Belize's fragile marine stocks. Over the past few decades, Belize's marine ecosystems have been severely damaged from overfishing. Fishermen are struggling and looking for alternative livelihoods such as seaweed farming. The Placencia Seaweed Farmers is currently the only organization in the country that provides seaweed cultivation training and is proud to share their knowledge with others.
The fishing industry in Belize is dominated by men; in order to make the new seaweed industry more gender equal, the Nature Conservancy encourages women to participate in the seaweed training as well. In addition, young participants are also always encouraged to join. The youngest trainee was only 17 years old!
"I have a strong passion for the environment... I was asked to be a part of this opportunity. I wanted to be up close to sustainable alternatives to fishing to improve the livelihoods for fishermen and also to improve the ecosystem of Belize's waters"
Scroll through the images below to explore
what it's like to become a seaweed farmer!
Want to learn more about the Placencia Seaweed Farmers and their work? Check out their Facebook page here.