GOB Says Immarbe May Have To Adjust For EUThe Prime Minister held his quarterly press conference three weeks ago - but since then a number of issues have cropped up.
Not least among them is the grave peril into which Belize's aquaculture interests have been placed with the threatened blacklisting by the European Union.
The European Union says it will identify Belize as what they call a non-co-operating third country" and refuse to accept fish and shrimp imports from Belize.
That's because the Europeans say Belize's offshore industry is not properly overseen by the Fisheries Department. And when we say offshore, we're referring to IMMARBE - which is the ships' register and the IBC register.
Today the PM says they may have to party ways with IMMARBE or a compromise may be in the offing:
Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"I will say that we are prepared, and have been prepared for a while, to give up that ship's registry, if it were to come to that, in order to ensure the continued ability to export our aqua-culture products to Europe. Of course, there is the question of the commercial agreement that was signed by the last Government, and renewed at infinitum. So, we have to look at all our options before we can talk about the possibility about withdrawal from that commercial contract. Hopefully it won't come to that; it is my sense that the IMMARBE people are prepared to cooperate to de-list the vessels that are in fact operating in the zone that is under the jurisdiction of the EU."
"Who are the corporate interests behind the IMMARBE?"
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"I am not sure of the entirety of interests. There is a Panamanian outfit, but I suspect that you would want to know whether the Ashcroft Alliance is involved. And the answer, as far as I know, is yes."