A related story in the San Pedro Sun Jan. 26,06
Long Line Fishing in Belize
Information reaching the SPSun office this past week was of a Japanese company acquiring a permit to long-line fish in Belizean waters. Although long-line fishing is a practice which is prohibited in almost every country in the world, it unfortunately is not illegal in the country of Belize.
Long line fishing is a commercial fishing technique that uses hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks hanging from a single line. Studies have shown the method to be detrimental not only to the various species of fish, but to birds and turtles as well, as they are caught on the many hooks.
In an interview with James Azueta, Ecosystems Management Unit Coordinator in the Fisheries Department, The San Pedro Sun found out that this controversial practice is indeed legal in our country. Any fisherman with the proper resources can acquire a permit to carry out this practice, and as long as it is not done in marine (protected) reserves. In New Zealand, where this practice is common, there is a limit of 25 hooks per line. In Belize, however, there is no set limit. According to Azueta, the long-line fishing being done in the country differs slightly from other parts in the world since it is not done, horizontally but vertically. Or, in other words, some consider deep sea long line fishing to be less detrimental to the environment. In Belize, there are presently two permits that are approved or two vessels are currently long-line fishing.
In response to Japanese companies acquiring rights to carry out this practice, Azueta stated that no such permit has been granted. Apparently a Japanese company is going to do is carry out a workshop where Belizeans will be taught the proper way to long-line fish in our Caribbean waters.