Population Structure Assessment of Fished Marine Species within Belize


University of Belize Environmental Research Institute UB-ERI


Belize Barrier Reef System

Thematic Area:

Sustainable Fisheries


April 2023 – March 2026

Funds from Belize Fund ($BZD):


Co-financing ($BZD):


Project Goal:

Incorporating genetics data into fisheries management in Belize

Project Objectives:

  1. Determine the population structure of 4 finfish indicator species.
  2. Gather fishers’ knowledge and perceptions regarding the population connectivity and structure of target commercial species to support fisheries science and management.
  3. Align genetic population structure with data fishers’ knowledge and perceptions of population structure and connectivity.
  4. Determine whether deep-water queen conch populations are serving as a source population for the fished, shallow-water queen conch populations.

Expected Outputs:

  1. Genetic samples collected.
  2. Population structure determined from genotype.
  3. Genetic data generated is shared with Belize FiD, relevant Marine Protected Areas Managers and stakeholders to inform the MSP and Fisheries management plans.
  4. Academic publication on the species population structure in Belize, written in conjunction with relevant stakeholders.
  5. Expertise in using molecular techniques in Belize developed.
  6. Possibility of a genomics lab in Belize assessed.
  7. Socio-ecological survey questionnaire developed and conducted.
  8. Workshop held with fishers, the Belize FiD, and relevant agencies to co-develop fish population maps aligned with management zones.
  9. Fisher’s knowledge and perceptions regarding the population connectivity from socio-ecological surveys incorporated with genetic data on population structure.
  10. Queen conch population structure in Turneffe Atoll published.