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#451835 - 11/24/12 10:26 AM Oceana: Improve Performance on Illegal Fishing
Marty Offline
European Commission “yellow cards” Belize for bad fishing practices

Belize is amongst eight countries listed by the European Commission as having a poor track record in dealing with Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. Oceana calls on the Government of Belize to take swift and decisive action to protect the name and reputation of Belize abroad and to ensure Belize falls in line with its international duties and obligations.

Unfortunately, Belize, which allows the use of the Belize flag by vessels in no way belonging or connected to the country, keeps suffering from a serious bruised face for a few dollars. This venture which was privatized and no longer being managed by the government of Belize is in the hands of IMMARBE (International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize) thus removing major decision-making and oversight roles from the Fisheries Department which is the government department previously responsible for such activity. The bulk of the fees collected by IMMARBE goes into private hands and a small portion is paid into the Belizean treasury, thus not even the substantial portion of the economic benefit goes to Belize.

The Commission explained that it adopted this decision because after their analysis of each country and their subsequent report “there are strong indications that these countries are not fulfilling their duties as flag, coastal, port or market States – duties that are laid down in international law, such as the provisions of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations”.

The release continues by indicating that Belize is not yet black-listed but is being given an opportunity to “formally respond, refute and take measures to rectify the situation” If this warning sent by the issuing this "yellow card" is not heeded to, then the next step is to black list Belize. This would thus mean that Belize would be barred from trading fisheries products with the European Union, from engaging in joint fishing operations or chartering agreements with EU vessels, and from other trade-related activities. The EU hopes to form further international alliance against this matter with other major countries to fight against illegal fishing, which reportedly accounts for 19% of the worldwide fish catch.

“We oppose IUU, we want all countries of the world to do better on managing IUU, and Belize needs to step up and play its part as a responsible country in the international community. It should not serve as a partner to disreputable fishing companies that want to do IUU and to use the Belizean flag as a cover for their activities. It is embarrassing that the Belizean flag is cited by the EU as standing for IUU,” stated Oceana in Belize VP Audrey Matura-Shepherd.

One of the immediate recommendations is for the Government to amend the Registration of Merchant Ships Act Chapter 236 of the Laws of Belize by once again nationalizing IMMARBE and thus returning it to the ownership of the Belizean people and not in the private hands that presently owns it. Next would be to realistically look at the areas of grave concern being pointed out by the European Commission, in whose area of the world Belize’s name and flag has become so disreputable. Monies that will be collected directly by the government by nationalizing IMMARBE should then be earmarked for the Fisheries Department to equip them to carry out the proper oversight and thus guard Belize’s reputation internationally.


#491612 - 05/30/14 05:01 AM Re: Oceana: Improve Performance on Illegal Fishing [Re: Marty]
reefenit Offline
Wow, I had no idea this was going on Marty! 19% of the international consumption is huge, and not being regulated only means to me that our oceans are getting fished out way harder than I ever imagined. We all need to get proactive about this some how. As a boat captain, with a commercial fishing lic. I truly respect our waters. When I first came to Belize Back in 2003 I was introduced to local fisherman and there fishing practices out at Turneffe Atoll, as I had lived on the Atoll for a number of mounts and shared my observations to the local Belizeans as to how to improve there fishing practices so that they could sustain the fish,lobster,and conch habitat and the response I got was "you can't take every fish out of the sea" This attitude broke my heart as I watched them taking pregnant female lobsters out of season to support there families with no concern about the fish population for future use and protecting the habitat/environment. I ended up leaving the Atoll after my boat was stolen from the caye is was on. This issue breaks my heart. My friend that introduced me to Turneffe who was doing his best to use proper fishing practices from what I could see was shot and killed on his boat out in Turneffe about 7-8 years ago over lobster fishing grounds in the same area where the lovely resort casino is being build on Turneffe. I'm sure this is not going to help the fish,lobster,conch population at all. It is very frustrating......................................................Small fish in a big pond venting. I will continue to try and educate fisherman and do my part as I continue to research seaweed propagation and maybe get to a point to farm this wonderful resource and teach others along the way so some of the fisherman can shift the energies away from ( is poaching the right word?) fishing out the reef...........
Namiste/Have a blessed day

#498316 - 11/25/14 04:50 AM Re: Oceana: Improve Performance on Illegal Fishing [Re: Marty]
reefenit Offline
According to the Belize Fisheries Department, the primary fishing sector employs 1,672 active fishermen
and aquaculture workers. There are a total of 2,131 licensed fishermen in Belize. Unlike the large
commercial fleets exploiting deep-sea and pelagic stocks, Belizean fishermen are directly dependent on
national stocks, and they cannot easily relocate if stocks
decline. The secondary sector, fishermen cooperatives,
employs 123 workers. The primary role of cooperatives
in Belize is the commercialization and export of the catch
from members. The cooperatives also have a key role in
advising the government on fisheries policy. More than
50% of all licensed fishermen are members of one of the
five cooperatives in Belize. Many fishermen are
unlicensed, particularly in southern Belize. However, the
growth of local, community-based fishermen’s
associations, bodies which act to represent the local interests of fishermen, has recently emerged. The
associations are growing in prominence as recipients of funding and partners to NGOs. Environmental
Defense Fund’s initial research in the Mesoamerican Reef (MSA) region has found that both the
cooperatives and associations are important actors in the fisheries sector and must be partners to any
reform initiative. There are tensions between the cooperatives and associations over their roles
representing the interests of the fishermen.
Namiste/Have a blessed day


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