Janelle C Is New OCEANA VP Audrey Matura Shepherd left OCEANA Belize in august, and since then OCEANA International has been going through applications for country vice president. Today, last week's rumour was confirmed; the new vice president is well known television news reporter Janelle Chanona.
And while Chanona is a journalist by profession, in a sit down interview with 7news today, she told us why she is fit for the job.
Janelle Chanona, VP OCEANA
"I really didn't think about it until I was asked to apply and that happened after Ocean's last press conference in Belize and it really came down to wanting to be a part of change. I just want to make sure that the resources that we do have are still here well into the future, if not healthier. It really was a no brainer after a while."
"I really loved what I was doing. The private production work was really exciting for me and I love going out and meeting people. I did a lot of environmental projects as a private consultant, but this wasn't a bog leap for me; I want to do good. I want to make positive change."
"I know Mrs. Matura filled some big shoes. What's the plan you have for Oceana?"
Janelle Chanona, VP OCEANA
"Well the benefit of having size 10 feet, I usually have to buy my own shoes, I can't borrow anybody else's shoe. I really plan on bringing my own brand to the organization. Audrey and her team certainly made Oceana a household name and establish itself as a force to be reckoned with and I am very grateful for that - that's a great base from going up from here. We can only go up. We will stick to our roots as an activist organization. We look forward to working with our allies and our conservation group partners."
"I think there is so much on the horizon in terms of things that we have to be aware of. The first couple of weeks, I can tell you will be meeting with our partners and trying to established new goals. We still have three campaigns which are the ban of offshore drilling, we have a campaign on juvenile fish stocks and we have a campaign to ban gill net use. You will see that and in addition we will be determining new areas of collaboration."
"I really love nature and being out in the sea. I really feel at home there. I think that's all I needed at the end of day, because you are right, I don't have a strong scientific base. I studied biology and chemistry for about 5 minutes in 6th form because at that time I wanted to be a marine biologist and then I took elective in communications and I ended up in journalism and now I am right back where I started and yes, I am a journalist, but as I said it does come down to the big picture; what we want is simple. We want to keep Belize beautiful. Everybody loves the reef. That's the one thing that unifies us, all Belizeans depend on it."
"Getting there sustainably, that's the complex part and I know great things can be achieved when Belizeans get together and work together. I have a great team behind me; the Oceana network is incredible, in terms of scientific research and lobbying and palsy suggestions and the local conservation community is very active. I am looking forward to just working with people and being part of a team because at the end we are all on the same page; we are all Belizeans - there is no division, we all want good for our country and I have nowhere else to go. I want to stay in Belize and make sure that Belize is the best it can be."
Today was Chanona's first day in office.
According to a press release, She will lead Oceana's campaigns in Belize - which will include efforts to stop offshore drilling as well as efforts to promote responsible fishing practices in Belize's waters.