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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Today folks at the Belize Coastal Zone Management Institute and Authority received an important piece of equipment that will help scientists learn more about Belize's marine life. Oceana's Vice President in Belize, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, officially signed documents with the Coastal Zone Management Institute's Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Vincent Gillett, who explained to Love News how the donation will be put to use.

Dr. Vincent Gillett, CEO, Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute
"We have several ideas but prominent among those are for research activities, monitoring activities and certainly for education. In the first instance I believe in terms of our research it is an opportunity that we have longed hoped for and I think that the ownership of this boat is going to allow us to expand the areas that we have been working in and certainly give us an opportunity to do certainly some more substantial marine research. But I think I am a little bit more excited about the educational uses. Here we are going to partner with the NGO community, with the schools, the colleges, universities and take advantage of the vessel to inform and educate our young people and people who are in college and schools."

Meanwhile, Matura-Shepherd said that the vessel is one of two that OCEANA acquired to help people learn more about the vast marine eco-systems.

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, VP, OCEANA, Belize
"When we bought over the trawlers from the Northern Fishermen Cooperatives we knew that we wanted to put it to use for something positive. There were options that we could have just sunk them or we sold them for commercial purpose but that was not something we would have done because that is not in keeping with the work we do. We had issued out invitation for different organizations to bid and to say if they would want it one, and what they would want it for. We got several entities that sent in recommendations and then we narrowed it down to two that is the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute and CYDP but the only one we were able to close off today is Coastal Zone Management. They sent in this proposal saying we would want the vessel and we would use it for a research education vessel, it is something that is very important because of the kind of work we do. We are still hoping that we will be able to close a deal with the Conscious Youth Development Program because they said in their proposal that they would have used it to help disenfranchised youths, they would have used it to do different programs or projects that would get kids off the street and to learn more about marine issues and they would also see how they would refit it for a restaurant."

Since the government put a ban on trawling in Belize, OCEANA came up with ways in which it could have put the trawling vessels to use and today's donation was an example of that effort.


Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Turning Trawlers Into Marine Research Vessels

Was it the book of Isaiah which spoke about beating swords into plowshares? Well how about turning shrimp trawlers into marine research vessels?

That's what will happen with the Shrimp Trawler, Northern One. You may recall that the trawler, worth over $400,000, was one of two bought last year by Oceana from Northern Fishermen CO-Op as part of the conditions to the passing of the historic legislation banning bottom trawling in all of Belize's waters.

Well, the trawler now has a new home with the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute which will use it as a marine research vessel.

CZMAI paid just $1.00 Belize for the trawler under the contractual agreement signed today. The ownership of the second trawler - the Northern 2 - is still under discussion with the Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP), but is expected to be decided on shortly.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Oceana gifts a trawler to CZMAI

A former trawling vessel, worth over four hundred thousand dollars, was today signed over to the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) for just one dollar. The vessel is one of two that were bought over by OCEANA in February, 2011 after legislation was passed to ban trawling in Belize. OCEANA and government negotiated the buyout to avoid causing major losses to the Northern Fishermen's Cooperative and the vessel handed over today will now be refitted for use in research as well as education. News Five was on hand today, for the signing of the contract which was drafted by Young's Law Firm and penned by OCEANA's local Vice President Audrey Matura-Shepherd as well as CZMAI C.E.O. Vincent Gillett and Director Collin Gillett.

Audrey Matura Shepherd, Vice President, OCEANA Belize

"It has been in the making for a while that after OCEANA bought over the trawlers which would have been a year now, almost a year since April of last year, we always wanted to know what we would do with it because we know they are no longer useful as a commercial vessel, at least not for trawling. And of course we would not put it back into anything that we would consider in our campaigns to be destructive to the eco-system. And so we had requested that different NGO's or entities send in proposals to say if they would be able to use it and how they would be able to use it. We got several proposals and one of them we got was from the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute. After the real owners-the persons who actually put in the money to buy the trawlers-saw the proposal, they accepted that proposal and with that they said okay, let us donate it to Coastal Zone. Of course, it was one point to just say we would donate it to them and it wa to reach another point that we have the agreements because what you will be seeing here today is the signing of a contract in which they’re actually paying a dollar for it and the reason we've done it as a contract is so that the terms of the agreement is a binding term."

Vincent Gillett, C.E.O., CZMAI

"This is something that we had long dreamt about and as you know in Belize we have a vast expanse of sea area that we have not always been privy to do serious research in. this vessel is going to provide us with that opportunity. But it is not only research and monitoring that we are going to be involved in; we're certainly going to take advantage of having the vessel to inform and educate our people so I imagine that we will be visiting all the schools and having discussions with them now and in the future, encourage them to work with us and encourage them to come along in various instances to take the school students out to sea and see what we're all talking about because it's important, we feel, to build that particular base, to carry on the work that we're doing in terms of managing our resources."

The CZMAI will form a committee to organize educational activities with various schools. According to Matura-Shepherd, a proposal was submitted by the Conscious Youth Development Program for the second trawler, but there are still some kinks to be ironed out.

Channel 5

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