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#344422 - 07/10/09 05:39 PM New Fisheries Regulations
Marty Offline

There are 13 marine protected areas in Belize. Seems like plenty, but they only cover 8% percent of Belize’s territorial waters. And of that 8%, about two and a half percent are strictly restricted for fishing activities. The fact is though, much of it insufficiently regulated but now the Ministry Of Agriculture has taken the bull by the horns and put in place various Pieces of legislation to strengthen management and enable enforcement in marine reserves. The hope is that the reserves can be properly managed for the purposes of extraction and conservation management. Today the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries held a press conference to outline the aims and objectives of the new bundle of initiatives.

Hon. Rene Montero, Minister of Agriculture
“These legislations aim to strengthen the management and effectiveness of the marine reserves and also the management regime governing the sustainable use of the commercial species currently exploited in Belize.”

Beverly Wade, Fisheries Administrator
“It really allows you to now have a management regime for these areas that now addresses all the activities that will happen in these areas from fishing all the way down to coastal development. So I will give you an example, in a marine reserve now if you want to carry out some sort of coastal development, it is now required by law to have some requirements. You have to carry out either a limited level environmental study or an EIA is must by law. So it now says we have designated these areas, not because they are pretty but we designated them because we think that they now carry out a very important function in the productive sector and also in our effort to preserve our great barrier reef and so what we re saying now is that in this particular area, we are going to have a more focused and rigid management regime and so if you want to do anything in a marine reserve, what a zone-ation scheme does is it gives you a blueprint of what you could do and how you could do it.”

James Azueta, Fisheries Officer
“Marine reserves actually are multi-use where we have zonation zoning scheme where we have a general use area zone which is about 80% of the area. We have the conservation zone which boils down to 15% and then we have a conservation area which is about 5%. The deicisons have been made a long time ago to actually have the zones with pertinent regulations of what could be extracted, where you could extract those products. We needed the legislation to actually enforce the act. That has happened now, because why, basically it boils down that there is the political will to do it.”

George Myvette,
“For example in Caye Caulker, there are certain areas that we are trying to protect. Right up onto the reef there is a practice traps that is not necessarily consistent with good sustainable practices and this zone-ation scheme will allow us to now say and to now have the force of the law to basically say to the officials try and work with us. We are hopefully that you could basically place your traps where they need to be placed.”

Beverly Wade,
“Naturally when you are restricting your everyday livelihood and bread and butter issues, you will have some concerns and issues and I just want to say that one of the reasons why this has taken this long time is because it goes through a very very detailed and long process of consultation because we have to ensure that every fisherman, every stakeholder that is in that area, even the regulatory bodies are brought in to the conversation when we’re now looking at putting in these guidelines in place or regime in place.”

James Azueta,
“The fishermen, they know the areas already, which are the conservation zones and by practice they have been those areas. By and large they have been doing that. Now with this legislation, starting next month we are going to put the marker buoys so that they can see it, visually see it. They are working with us and they are all onboard.”

Beverly Wade,
“Only people who would want to do things irresponsibly would have an issue with this.”

And while only 2.4% percent of Belizean waters are under restriction from fishing– ideally the hope would be to expand that to 20%.

Channel 7

#344440 - 07/10/09 06:23 PM Re: New Fisheries Regulations [Re: Marty]
beachbumin Offline
Not sure what all of this means, did they ever enforce the fishing license requirement that was promulgated last year?

#345074 - 07/16/09 09:58 AM Re: New Fisheries Regulations [Re: beachbumin]
Marty Offline
The Sport Fishing Hold-Up

In April, we told you about the bogus award that the Tourism Board had given to three individuals for “getting the catch & release legislation passed for the protection of bonefish, permit, and tarpon in Belize.” Don’t get us wrong, the three recipients deserved recognition – they’d worked on draft legislation for 12 years – but government was just sitting on the legislation – and the news tonight, is that, it still is! At a press conference last week we spoke to CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Gabino Canto asking him when the long delayed catch and release legislation would be passed and what really is the hold-up.

Gabino Canto, CEO – MAF
“Yes we did pass the SI for the sport fishing regulation early this year. What happened is that the SI had some flaws in it and so we reviewed it and we are re-submitting it again because there were some concerns expressed by a few people in the BTIA, the tourism industry.”

Jules Vasquez,
“Now a part of the problem as I understand it from an outsider perspective is the administrative issue with it, who will administrate it. Who will issue the licenses, who will get the revenue from the licenses, and what will that revenue be used to do.”

Gabino Canto,
“The current situation is that sports fishing comes under Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute and it is not under Fisheries Department so we will keep it that way because the monitoring compliance and so on, the regulations will be done by Fisheries Department. The issuing of the licenses will be done by Coastal Zone Management Institute.”

Jules Vasquez,
“Shouldn’t the revenue from the issuance of licenses go into enforcement? In fact it is going into the Coastal Zone to it seems to prop up an institution that lacks self-sufficiency.”

Gabino Canto,
“Not necessarily. What happen is the Coastal Zone Management Institute, the authority is under them, we will continue with that, but the revenue will be given to Fisheries Dept. for them to be able to monitor. It is not Coastal Zone Management, Coastal Zone Management will get some of it, maybe 30%, 70% goes to Fisheries.”

Jules Vasquez,
“But my question then is when will it be passed?”

Gabino Canto,
“We are hoping that within the next two weeks it will be over.”

And while Canto said it would be two weeks – that was last week – and best sources suggest that the legislation isn’t ready. Similarly, Director of Tourism Tracy Tagear told us in April that it would be tabled at the next house sitting; two house meetings have been held since then and nothing has been tabled. And if you’re wondering what is all the fuss about catch and release, it primarily covers sports and fly fishing done by tourists. The legislation is viewed as a major advance in marine conservation. It would make it so that bonefish, permit and tarpon cannot be possessed by any person or establishment in Belize, except in the act of catch and release.

#345118 - 07/16/09 02:56 PM Re: New Fisheries Regulations [Re: Marty]
krehfish Offline
Marty: Is this also a Channel 7 story?
Flyfishing my way through mid-life crisis.

#345124 - 07/16/09 03:11 PM Re: New Fisheries Regulations [Re: krehfish]
SimonB Offline
It's the Channel 7 transcript.


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