There is a confirmed report out of Belmopan that the European Union has removed Belize from what is referred to as a List One Status for exports of fish and shrimps to the E.U. Belize was the only country in this region with that privileged status, but now the E.U. is identifying Belize as a non-cooperating country for non compliance. What it means is that Belize will not be able to supply shrimps to the E.U. at least in the short term, which puts the industry at great risk of suffering significant losses. The ban has been in effect since November first and for the time being Belize will have to rely on its shrimp and fish exports to North American markets to keep the industry afloat. According to Doctor Marvin Figueroa of the Belize Agricultural and Health Authority (BAHA), the temporary ban has been implemented because the E.U. alleges that Belize did not submit an annual residue plan, which monitors for chemicals, for the years 2010 and 2011. But Figueroa insists that there is proof that Belize submitted its residue plan and that the relevant package was sent through DHL and was complimented with an email to DG SANCO, Europe’s competent authority from its food and veterinary office, known as FDO. But according to Figueroa, while the DG SANCO representative has since acknowledged receipt, he says that the plan was submitted late. The Ministry of Agriculture has been in closed door meetings to discuss this development. BAHA has turned to the E.U. Representative in Belize, Lamberte Coffimo, for help and Figueroa says he has contacted the DG SANCO representative in Ireland. So the situation as it stands tonight is that due to the bungling, the fisheries sector is in peril.

Channel 5