Like marine guides, 100% of visitors to Belize believe that climate change is having an impact on the marine environment and affecting sea turtles. Almost all of the visitors responding to the questionnaire stated that seeing a sea turtle while touring in Belize is important to them with 56% responded that seeing a sea turtle in Belize would impact their decision to visit Belize in the future! This is a very large percentage and shows just how important it is to conserve sea turtles to sustain the tourism industry! 100% of visitors responded that they believe it is important to conserve sea turtles. Many said that they believe it is important to conserve all nature and sea turtles in particular because they are beautiful and wonderful creatures.
As a part of the Belize Turtle Watch Program, questionnaires were created to gather data on perceived impacts on sea turtles in Belize and changes in their population over the years. Questionnaires were created for a variety of groups including marine guides, coastal property owners, fishermen, general public, and visitors to Belize. Presented here are initial summaries of two of these groups - marine guides & visitors to Belize!
Marine Guide Response Summary
When asked to what extent they thought that climate change had effected the marine environment, and specifically sea turtles in Belize, 100% of marine guides responded that it has had an impact as seen in Figure 1. Additionally, 86% of marine guides report that they believe the number of sea turtles in the waters of Belize has been decreasing over the time that they have been a marine guide. Most marine guides responded that they believed the highest threat to sea turtles in Belize is illegal fishing while climate change is the lowest immediate threat to their population here. Finally, 100% of marine guides responded that they believe sea turtles are important to making their living with 71% responded that they are VERY important to their livelihood.
Figure 2 - Climate Change Impact - Visitors to Belize