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#366689 02/08/10 09:11 AM
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chris45 Offline OP
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I guess you have all seen my posts on this subject elsewhere on this forum.
As this issue has implications for resort owners, I make no apology for raising it here.
What recommendations are members making to their guests?
The duty of care aspect weighs heavily. I don't want any of our guests getting arrested for not having licences. the buck stops at the resort owner's door.
What should we do?
does anyone have a good contact within the BTB? or BTIA? Do members think that avenue is worth exploring?
thoughts anyone?

Joined: Oct 2008
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Dear Chris45, I'm the San Pedro BTIA representative and also a resort owner (www.cayecasa.com) What exactly is the issue?
Julie

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chris45 Offline OP
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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.

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Coastal Zone Management Authority are about to start enforcing it.I am told it will be "everyone on boat" .
they are trying to get act together, they will have Major announcements threw BTA , fisheries ,Hol Chan ect. when time comes.

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chris45 Offline OP
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Yes thats what they told me too.
Our only hope is that when they make their first prosecution it will be thrown out of court. A good lawyer will find plenty of loopholes. Its a waste of public money, and a very bad advert for Belize to treat its tourists in this way. Next thing we know, Belize Port Authority will require all passengers on a boat to have Masters licences, or perhaps Ministry of Transport will require all passengers on a bus to have drivers licences. Same logic.
I'm not missing something here am I? April Fools day hasn't come early this year has it?

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What do they mean by "equipped for sport fishing"? Many diveboats are also used for fishing - I was on one yesterday. Would they hold that as being covered by the law, even when not actually being used for fishing?

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Can you read

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Yes, I can
"a boat either equipped for or engaged in Sportfishing"

My question stands.

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Your question is answered

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Note to self: do not to catch a ride to/from town or anywhere else on any boat that has outriggers, poling platform, casting platform, live well, rod holders... whew, this will be a long list... trolling motor, tackle box... hmmm... maybe I should just put this in a handy spreadsheet??? ...gaffing hook, fish billy...

I'd like to think that 'common sense' would prevail/conquer any ambiguities encountered from such vague wording, but such (sense) doesn't seem all that common...


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