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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Former newscaster joins ocean conservation group, pledges to win campaigns to protect Belize's reef.

Oceana, the world's largest international ocean conservation group, announced today that Janelle Chanona has joined Oceana as its new leader for Belize. The former Belize newscaster and Belmopan native will lead Oceana's efforts to protect Belize's barrier reef.

"We are very lucky to have Janelle join Oceana," noted Oceana CEO Andrew F. Sharpless. "She has the right combination of skills and passion to be an excellent leader and to help Oceana win policy victories that protect Belize's amazing barrier reef and its marine resources."

Chanona, a former reporter and anchor with News 5 in Belize, most recently ran her own media and production company. She has produced documentaries for several environmental groups in Belize. Chanona is a graduate of St. Johns College in Belize, of Loyola College in Baltimore in the United States and received a Masters degree with distinction from Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom. A passionate diver, she is a frequent visitor to Belize's barrier reef, the largest such reef in the Western Hemisphere.

"My greatest wish, and the reason I took this job, is to ensure that the reef that all Belizeans love and depend on is protected and made healthier than ever before," said Chanona. "I am convinced that our future and development as a country depends on it."

Chanona began work at Oceana's offices in Belize City today. She will lead Oceana's campaigns in Belize - which will include efforts to stop offshore drilling, which could ruin Belize's reef, as well as efforts to promote responsible fishing practices in Belize's waters.

"I am excited," added Chanona. "We have a great base to build on, thanks to past efforts by Audrey and Oceana's partner groups. My first step will be to meet with our allies and supporters, listen and to make plans for the next steps needed to win more campaigns for Belize and our reef."

Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world's oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 600,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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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."

Monica Bodden
"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.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,392
Marty Offline OP
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Chanona says she will advocate for the protection of Belize's natural resources

Janelle Chanona

Admittedly, the bar which has been set extremely high by Chanona's predecessor is a hard act to follow. And Chanona says she does have the best interest of the country at heart as it pertains to advocacy for the protection of its natural resources.

Isani Cayetano

"Some would say that filling Audrey's shoes, in terms of the standard that she has set for OCEANA in Belize, is a very hard act to follow.� What do you bring new to the table, in terms of saying, well look you will do an equally impressive job, in terms of addressing some of the environmental issues and what have you, in Belize?"

Janelle Chanona, Vice President, OCEANA in Belize

"I smiled when you said shoes to fill.� I have size ten feet so I have really big shoes already.� But in all seriousness I am not a scientist.� I am not an attorney but I am a Belizean and I love Belize and I have nowhere else to go and I love what's out there and I think really that's perhaps my biggest selling point and that's what really sold the OCEANA leadership team that I want to do this job and do it right.� And I think right is might at the end of the day and I don't have to be anything but myself to get things done and I'm confident that I will be able to use my own strengths to get campaign victories and get results and bring about a better Belize.� That's really, that's the big picture here."

Isani Cayetano

"Speaking of campaign victories, what are some of the immediate initiatives that you will be embarking upon in your initial months here?"

Janelle Chanona

"Well OCEANA still has three campaigns going.� We're not backing down from that.� We're still pushing the ban on offshore drilling, we're looking at the juvenile fish stock campaign to maintain those fisheries and we also have a campaign against gill nets.� We think they should be banned.� Certainly within the next couple weeks I should be meeting with partners, locally, government and non-governmental, to find out where exactly we are in terms of establishing new goals, new campaigns for the organization.� So it's going to be�� I definitely want to meet with as many people as possible so that we operate from that base.� At the end of the day Isani we want, and I think, it has been OCEANA to be seen as a Belizean organization and as a Belizean organization we're working with Belizeans to protect Belizean resources for the benefit of Belizeans."

OCEANA is described as the world’s largest international ocean conservation group.�

Channel 5

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