Ever Wonder How Many Countries it Takes to Save a Fish? The Answer is All of Them Involved

Source: Hakai Magazine/Sasha Chapman - July 12, 2017 in Politics

Ever Wonder How Many Countries it Takes to Save a Fish? The Answer is All of Them Involved
Photo: Rick Smit/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

She swam to Northeast Point when her eggs were ripe. Ripe as the winter moon that shone into the sea, compelling her to leave the neighborhood where she spent most of her year alone on the reef. About half a meter long, the large predator joined hundreds of her kind to migrate more than 100 kilometers across deep open water to a submerged rocky outcrop. For as long as anyone could remember, her ancestors have aggregated here; no one knows how her species first found the spawning ground. Other females and males streamed into the sheltered elbow in the promontory, settling into sandy grooves and coral spurs. They waited for the sun to set.

Like the Nassau grouper aggregating below the surface, we, too, are governed by the movements of the moon and the sun—and the satellite coordinates displayed on the GPS unit at the research vessel’s helm. There are seven of us on board, five suited up to dive. We turn east toward a break in the reef, toward Northeast Point. Each swell moves like a wall toward the bow of the seven-meter skiff. We are still in Belizean waters but, through a trick of geography, only an hour or so from Honduras and Guatemala, the neighboring countries that cradle the southern side of the Gulf of Honduras. Belize City, by contrast, where the coast guard and the fisheries department’s Conservation Compliance Unit are headquartered, is at least three times as far by water.

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