The public is advised that on April 16, 2019, Cabinet approved an amendment to the Fisheries Regulations to remove the category of “permanent residents” from those persons eligible to obtain a fishing license in Belize’s territorial waters. All active licenses as of this date will be permitted to run their course and expire.

This amendment is aimed at further promoting local fisherfolk stewardship of our fishery resources in the framework of managed access. It is also aimed at improving the efficacy of law enforcement in our territorial waters in collaboration with the security forces.

It is important to note that originally the Fisheries Regulations intended for only Belizean citizens to be eligible for fisherfolk licenses. This criterion was loosened in 2005 to allow for permanent residents to be eligible. Since then many issues arose around these types of non-citizen licenses and in 2010 the regulations were tightened to require such permanent residents to be resident in Belize for at least six months prior to obtaining a license and that they must sell their produce exclusively in Belize. Although intended to control the fishing activities of such licensees, these provisions have proven difficult to enforce in practice.

A copy of the amendment will be publicly available upon publication in the Gazette. Digital copies will also be made available on the Ministry’s website.