Punta Fuego Celebrates a Successful First Season as Belize’s Hottest Radio Drama


Ralna Lewis: rlewis@wcs.org

John Delaney jdelaney@wcs.org

Belize City, Belize, December 16 — The first season of Punta Fuego may have come to a close, but thanks to its roaring success it will officially be back on air next June! By the end of its first season the hit radio show has given us many causes for celebration, including elevating the importance of ordinary Belizean fishers and of sustainable fishing practices.

As one Hopkins fisher exclaimed, “finally there is a show about us.” Another fisher, this one from Belize City, remarked: “Many people don’t know what we go through and so the show helps people to understand our struggles.”

Throughout last summer, the signature tune of the conch shell on Love FM every Wednesday signaled the 7:15 pm start of Belize’s hottest radio drama — Punta Fuego. Dedicated listeners across Belize were enthralled by the young fisherman Richie and his diverse cast of counterparts as they faced ordinary — and sometimes extraordinary — events in their community. These challenges and dramatic conflicts spoke to critical issues pertaining to responsible fishing on an individual and community level.

Punta Fuego enabled the Belizean public to get a deeper understanding of a sector that in 2011 accounted for 25.95 million BZD in export earnings, representing 2.2 percent of Belize’s GDP, and in 2012 supported close to 3,000 fishers. 

As one fisher explained, “We gain a sense of importance and relevance to society. Before the show, nobody pay the fishermen mind, instead discussion is based on politicians, tourism etc.”

An evaluation conducted amongst fishers in Belize City, Dangriga, Sarteneja, and Hopkins revealed that approximately 34% of the surveyed population listened to Punta Fuego.  What’s more, those who listened to the show were more likely to: (1) possess correct knowledge regarding Belize’s fisheries regulations; (2) recognise the benefits of marine protected areas; and (3) share their knowledge with other fishers. 

Punta Fuego ignited the passion of Belizeans across the country to protect the seas and fisheries they depend on. As one fisher expressed, “I will be honest, I used to fish in the [replenishment] zones from time to time, but now I think about what I hear in the show and I don’t think I will be doing that again.”

Punta Fuego is part of a broader Entertainment-Education strategy to increase knowledge, shift attitudes and promote positive behaviors with regards to responsible fishing, marine-protected areas and replenishment zones (RZs) for sustainable fisheries in Belize. This strategy is being supported by Belize Fisheries Department, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), PCI Media Impact and the Oak Foundation, alongside a coalition of NGOs.

Find Punta Fuego on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/puntafuegobelize/

Listen to the first season: https://soundcloud.com/mediaimpact/sets/punta-fuego-belize

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.

PCI Media Impact is a pioneer and world leader in Entertainment-Education and communications for social change. We empower communities worldwide to inspire positive social and environmental change through storytelling and creative communications. For 30 years, we have used a unique capacity- building approach to advance the wellbeing of vulnerable populations by improving knowledge, shifting attitudes and changing behaviors on critical social issues. To learn more about PCI Media Impact, visit: www.mediaimpact.org.