A training workshop for fisher folks was held today at the office of the Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association. The workshop is part of a project funded by the Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation Program (COMPACT) to improve the welfare of fishing communities and increase the conservation, protection and sustainable harvest of fishery products. The workshop will also provide fishers with knowledge on climate change, the Cooperative Movement, the CARICOM Common Fisheries Policy and seafood handling. Present at today’s workshop were also personnel from Red Cross, the Police department and Coast Guard to improve their skills in coping with accidents at sea. News Five spoke with Chairman of the Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association, Pedro Alvarez, who says that similar training workshops will be held in Caye Caulker, Sarteneja, Chunox and Placencia.
Pedro Alvarez, Chairman, Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association
“This training workshop consists of many things that we have been facing in the fisheries sector…so we made it possible today to have this workshop. We have personnel from the Met Service with the climate change because we see if very important. Climate change has a great impact on the fishing industry and we need to know about this. We also have for the first time, the Red Cross with first aid. That is something that we will be doing now to try to make fisher folks aware of things that can happen to them; injuries and so, so that they can assist each other and assist themselves for protection. And then we have from the Coast Guard and the police which we have been faced with many challenges out there of piracy, of people going missing that is unaccounted for out at sea. So they will be making presentations there so that we can link together for emergency cases, quick response of this nature. We have also from the Coop Department who will be enlightening people more about cooperative movements…we will be making a presentation on that. Then we have quality. Mister Velasquez will be making a presentation on quality.”
The Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association was formed to represent fishermen and provide legal, technical and educational services to its membership. The Association currently represents over two thousand fishers from thirteen coastal fishing communities.