Julie. The issue is that in its wisdom GOB has enacted a law which is basically unenforceable (not our problem!) but also impossible for us to observe (that IS our problem).
I quote from the law which I have a copy of.
As from September 14th 2009, ANYONE on a boat either equipped for or engaged in Sportfishing has to have a Sport fishing Licence. Anyone means anyone. So if we have a typical family down on holiday from Canada or USA etc, husband and non-fishing wife and (say) ten year old son, ALL THREE have to have SFL at BZ$20 each per day.
If the child is one year old and is on the boat he still needs a SFL.
I know that sound ridiculous but that is the law, and Coastal Zone Management Authority are about to start enforcing it.
Not only that, but the tour guide/boat captain also has to have a SFL! Again crazy.
I have met with Coastal Zone and they have advised me that the law will be enforced AS IT IS!!I have that in writing from them.
The Fisheries Department have advised me to keep non-fishers off the boats until this is resolved. That, as a resort owner, you will readily see is not practicable.
The list of holes in the law is long. But if I tell you that for example, if your guests want to go fly fishing for bonefish (probably that is THE most classic example of sportfishing, and therefore right in CZMA's target group) they will not need a SFL if they wade out to a flat and fish. However if they use a boat they will need a SFL. How come? because the list of "species designated by the Fisheries Administrator as sport fish" incredibly does not include bonefish, permit or tarpon. They only trigger a need for a licence if they go out in a boat "equipped for sport fishing" to reach the flat.
I could go on, but you get the point.
From the resort owners perspective, what do we do? Do we make every occupant of the boat buy a licence? Do we just ignore this legislation, and if we do, what about our duty of care? We are exposing ourselves to legal action if a guest got arrested.
And as for telling a Belizean Tour guide he has to have a licence, well THAT ain't gonna fly as they say.
I happen to be chairman of Monkey River Tour Guides Association and I can tell you their response to all this has been pretty short....
Bet you wished you hadn't asked now LOL
I have written to Placencia BTIA but no response as yet.
Your thoughts or advice will be very welcome to many resort owners I suspect.