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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Anyone who wants to catch a fish must first obtain a fishing license.

    The San Pedro Tour Guide Association (SPTGA) held a general meeting last Thursday at the San Pedro Lions Den where issues impacting the Tour Guides within the community were dealt with. However, the two biggest issues were the explanation of the Sport Fishing License law and the proposed Sardine Statutory Instrument.

    Present for the brief explanation of the Fishing License was Colin Gillet of the Coastal Zone Management Authority Institute (CZMAI). During his brief presentation, Gillet explained that anyone who wants to catch a fish must first obtain a fishing license which bears a cost of $20 per week, $50 per month and $100 per year. In an interview with Billy Leslie, President of SPTGA, there was much opposition to the Fishing Act for two important reasons: The Pricing System and the fact that all Belizeans are being charged the fees. During the meeting, many made their displeasure visible through their comments. Many believe that only sports fishermen should require a license to fish and not the ordinary Belizean fishing off of the end of a dock. According to Leslie, the economic crisis will affect those that are unable to purchase a license. Leslie explained that the $20 a day fee is higher than what is collected for the same license in other neighboring countries. Under the law, anyone, Belizean or tourist, who attempts to catch one snapper for dinner is required to have a license. This was corroborated by Gillet during an interview, explaining that anyone that throws a line at sea in an attempt to catch fish needs to have a license. However, he further stated that exemptions will be carried out, for example, based on age and location of fishing. "These are still being worked out," he explained. Other issues being worked out include the location where individuals may purchase a fishing license on the island and what is the process of getting one. Leslie and those present expressed their intention to take the matter before the Minister of Fisheries Rene Montero. Presently SPTGA is working on a petition which individuals who are not in accordance to the new law may sign. Within the next two weeks, this petition will be delivered to the Minister. "We are working on this petition with our counterparts across the country, not only San Pedro," he stated.

    Another item on the agenda was the presentation of the Fisheries Statutory Instrument (SI) in regards to Sardines. The proposed SI states: Regulation 9 of the Principal Regulations is hereby amended by the insertion of the following: (9.01) No sardines, order Harengula and Sardinella, shall be caught for the purpose of sale. (9.02) No person (s) shall have in possession more than five (5) pounds of sardine at any one time. (9.03) Any person wanting to have more than five (5) pounds of sardines at any one time shall apply to the Fisheries Administrator. Leslie stated that the Amendments are being reviewed before being passed into law. Anyone with recommendations on the proposed amendment is asked to kindly contact SPTGA office with their suggestions.

    After SPTGA's financial status was reviewed, it was decided that elections for the organization should take place in the general meeting scheduled for June 17th. For information on the petition and the Fisheries SI amendment, the general public may contact SPTGA's office located on Barrier Reef Drive from Monday to Friday between 12:00 noon and 3:00 p.m. or by calling 226-2391 or emailing [email protected].

San Pedro Sun

Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 6,267
One of the most blessed aspects of this country used to be that no matter how bad things got, a person could always catch a fish or crack a coconut and have a meal. Belize provided at least that much comfort for the poorest of the poor.

I'd say license a boat for fishing if you want to - but forget the rest, please. There really are people who would starve if this "law" were enforced fully and without prejudice.

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Residents Object New Fishing Laws & Fines

Fisheries Minister on the HOT SEAT

San Pedro Tour Guide Association president Billy Leslie calls this legislation "an insult to every resident of San Pedro and insult to every Belizean". Leslie is referring to Government's decision to apply a license to anyone who wants to engage in fishing. In simple terms this license will be charged unto any person who goes to the beach, the end of the lagoon or the end of a pier or even at the Boca del Rio with a fishing line and the intention to catch a fish or two for his children to have a decent fish meal.

Leslie very candidly explained to the listeners of the Reef Radio Morning Show that the original intention of the law was to apply a license fee unto certain people and only for certain species of fish. It was never intended to punish every Belizean desirous of enjoying a day in the sun casting his hand line or fishing rod.

Statutory instrument No.115 of 2009 dictates the terms of reference and stipulates the fees as follows: This SI is signed by Vincent Gillet for Coastal Zone Management Authority and by Hon. Rene Montero, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

One Day Fishing $20.00
One Week Fishing $50.00
One Year Fishing $100.00

The people's University, which is the common man and woman on the street is vehemently opposing this new proposed law based on the following observations:

  1. It is a totally new tax on every Belizean who has the right and privilege to go fishing on any given day.
  2. Hundreds of citizens, if not thousands like to go out sport fishing and at the same time catch a few fish for their table.
  3. If one has to pay $20 to (possibly) catch a few fish, then it is better to go buy a few fish from the few fishermen who set up wire traps.
  4. By the time you go and possibly get your license, you should already be returning from the beach. Most of the time one decides to go fishing at night on one's free time.
  5. This tax will lay an additional financial burden on tourists who already have a steep price to pay with air travel, hotel, food, and tourist guide fees.
  6. The minister of Fisheries is literally driving away our tourists to a friendlier destination at a time when we are already suffering a recession and a drop in tourist arrivals.

The Minister of Fisheries is in a hot seat and will put our government on the hot seat. He will put the Minister of Tourism on the hot seat. He will put our Town Board on the hot seat. But can the Minister comfortably sit on a cool seat. Yes he can. He can consult with our Minister of Tourism whom we assume is opposed to this new tax law and he can consult with our local Town Council which has already publicly expressed its opposition to the law. With the stroke of a pen, the minister can boil to his own death, or he can sit back on his comfortable seat and relax his next three years in office and perhaps guarantee another five more years. It is all up to the Minister.

Ambergris Today

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Sportfishing law to be amended

    The enacted Sport Fishing Law has stirred quite a controversy in the past few weeks nationwide. From North to South, people have voiced their concerns about the Law. In San Pedro Town, the San Pedro Tour Guide Association has taken a stand, in conjunction with other related agencies countrywide, and circulated a petition which will be delivered to the Ministry of Fisheries. Signatures were requested up to March 10th and according to Billy Leslie, President, over 1,000 people placed their names on the dotted lines. Strong voices that are standing together for one purpose which will be made clear in a draft of suggested amendments which will be presented to Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI).

    A press release issued by CZMAI has recognized the fact that amendments need to be made. A press release was issued on Thursday, March 11th stating the following: The Coastal Zone Management Authority wishes to inform the public about certain changes that will soon be made to the new Sport Fishing legislation, S.I 115 of 2009.

    The term 'Sport Fishing' will now be amended to define in more detail what sport fishing is and those groups that will be required to hold sport fishing licenses.

    A Sport Fishing license will now be needed by two main groups of fishermen. Visitors (non-Belizeans, non-permanent residents), and Sport fishermen (Belizean or otherwise) who are looking to target the main Sport Fish species as listed in the Fisheries legislation (S.I.114 of 2009).

    Exemptions are now being granted to all tour guides of Belize who possess a valid tour guide license upon application to the CZMA. Consideration is now being taken for full exemption for these tour guides.

    In an effort to stimulate the love of fishing in our young people children under the age of 16 and ease the burden on elderly persons over the age of 65, exemptions for these two groups of anglers will also now be granted.

    Exemptions will also now be granted to anglers who are simply fishing from a dock or pier as well as those who are fishing from the sea shore.

    Another amendment to S.I. 115 of 2009 will only require the angler that is fishing to hold a sport fishing license. Other passengers who are not fishing will not need a sport fishing license.

    The CZMAI remains committed to working closely with all stakeholders to allow for a smooth implementation of the new regulations.

    Any questions about these new changes can be forwarded to the CZMA offices on Princess Margaret Dr. in Belize City or telephones: 501-223-0719, 501-223-5739 or 501-223-2616.

San Pedro Sun

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,563
See, It can be done!

Take only pictures leave only bubbles
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 153
The Press Release from Coastal Zone will indeed be welcomed by many. However a word of caution might be in order. there are still loopholes in what is being proposed, and indeed none of the new proposals have yet been passed into law. Some of these ideas have already been rejected once by GOB.
Those who saw my exchange of letters with Coastal Zone in Amandala will have noted that I was publically invited "to join in their deliberations" and that, publically, I accepted their invitation.
Coastal Zone have since told me there will be a meeting later this month.
I will report back.

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,538
The Sport Fishing Controversy Heats Up

[Linked Image] For the past 11 months, the issue of what's called catch and release or sport fishing legislation ahs been a stone in the shoe of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It started in April of last year when an award was given to the two men who had crafted "Catch & Release Legislation passed for the protection of bonefish, permit, and tarpon in Belize." A solid commendation, except that no such legislation had been passed - though fishing websites worldwide were praising Belize for this major advance in marine conservation, when really, it only existed in draft form.

After that, the draft Statutory Instrument went through countless consultations and revisions repeatedly re-emerging as un-satisfactory. Finally on September 14th, of last year, statutory instrument 115 came into force - and since then it has been widely criticized for being sloppily worded, lacking in its provisions, misdirected and burdensome to fisher-folk. So last week, the coastal zone management authority and institute came forward and stated that SI 115 would be re-done to include critical exemptions and clarifications.

Jim McFadzean found out more about the proposed changes today and how it will ease those who make their living off Belize's seas.

Jim McFadzean Reporting,

Historically, many Belizeans have earned their living from fishing in Belize's abundant waters. Then there are recreational fishers who have participated in annual Marlin fishing tournaments. The most recent effort by the Coastal Zone Management Authority, to regulate a prime group of fish species, however, has a group of Tour Operators from the fishing village of San Pedro up in arms.

[Linked Image] Vincent Gillett, CEO - CZMA

"When the legislation was written, it was not discriminatory. For example it says that every person, meaning everybody who wants to engage in sports fishing activity, must have a license, everybody; man, woman, and child - visitor and non-visitor. And it phrased no person should engage in sports fishing unless he is the holder of a sports fishing license and it must be in the form that is prescribed by the legislation. That puts particularly the fishing tour guides in a little bit of quandary."

In an interview with the San Pedro Sun, the President of the San Pedro Tour Guide Operators voiced his group's displeasure with the legislation saying new taxes are not the answer because they will make an already expensive destination even more prohibitively priced. But according to Mike Singh, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, the fuss might be "much ado about nothing."

Jim McFadzean,

"As you know there has been some reaction from the San Pedro Tour Guide Association as it relates to these new licenses that they will now have to pay for and how it will affect their own industry. How concerned are you about this opposition?"

[Linked Image] Michael Singh, CEO, Ministry of Tourism

"The outcry because your local fisherman, you want to take your son out for a fishing trip or traditional way where you go out and you drop a line off a dock or you go off a little boat in the channel and it was felt by many that that would be a little bit too restrictive for locals. So Cabinet looked at it and the Coastal Zone Agency made a recommendation for exemptions of certain individuals, Belizeans in particular people over 60 and people under 16 and tour guides."

Statutory Instrument 114 seeks to regulate and protect the fishing of a certain group of fishes known to be targeted in the Recreational Fishing Industry, three species in particular though top the lists, the Tarpon, Bonefish, and Permit.

Vincent Gillett,

"The fisheries legislation said for permits, tarpons, and bonefish, those are going to be called sport fish. In addition to which they also set out a list of other fish species which they will also call sport fish, like for example your marlin, your Atlantic sailfish, your fat snook and those other kinds of fish species that sport fishermen or as we call them anglers tend to go after. Those fish species are separate and different and apart from those that are targeted by our commercial fishermen. So we are we making a distinction between commercial fish species and sport fish.

The three species, sports fish, not only do you have to have a license, you cannot have it in your possession. You must catch them and release them, only three fish species there. Now remember that is not going to stop the ordinary Belizean who wants to throw a line and go out and catch a snapper or whatever the case may be or subsistence operators. That is a livelihood that will not be endangered."

According to Singh, the Cabinet is looking at taking the exemptions one step further by exempting all Belizeans, but some things still remain unclear for the avid Belizean sports fisherman, since the Statutory Instrument to protect the 3 species is a separate Statutory Instrument from the license fee.

Michael Singh,

"It doesn't matter if you have a license or not, to catch those species they would still have to be released. So whether or not you will be able to angle for them as a Belizean, that is something that is a little bit unclear but if you are allowed to angle and whether you have a license or not, you will still have to release them. Nobody will be allowed to catch those three species and take them in an icebox or sell them commercially."

It is an overwhelming increase in the interests in Belizean waters by Sportfishers, worldwide, that has caused Government agencies such as the Fisheries Department and the CZML and other stakeholders to institute new laws governing those who seek to indulge in sportsfishing in Belize. They say enforceable regulations must be put in place to ensure sustainable practice amongst anglers´┐Żreporting for Seven News, I'm Jim McFadzean.

Singh says that the proposed formula for the funds generated from the sports fishing licenses is that they will be shared between the Fisheries Department and the CZMAI in an 80 to 20 split, with the larger portion going to the Fisheries Department. The monies would be used for the conservation of bonefish, tarpon and permit.[b][/b]

Live and let live

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