Fisheries Resources Bill Successfully Tabled and Passed
A new Fisheries Resources Bill was tabled in the House of Representatives on Friday which will aid in making small-scale fisheries more sustainable for marine life, as well as fisher folks. This new piece of legislation which was unanimously supported in the upper house replaces the previous law which has been on the books for the past seventy years. Not only will it ensure the sustainable use and management of fisheries resources, it will also help with conservation for the coral reefs.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“This bill has been consulted in the most comprehensive manner possible and enjoys the support of the majority of stakeholders. No doubt there are one or two persons, entities, that are not satisfied but that will always be the case Mr. Speaker, with any human endeavor. So I simply want to say that in terms of the instructions I have, it gives me great pleasure to be able to move as it were, on your behalf, the second reading of this bill. Thank you.”
Frank ‘Papa’ Mena, Area Representative, Dangriga
“Mr. Speaker, I seek your indulgence in referring to my notes and first I want to recognize those stakeholders who are here with us this morning, who have been a part of this ventilation for some time now. Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the passage of the Fisheries Resource Bill. Mr. Speaker, the fishing industry of Belize contributes three to four percent annually of GDP and has maintained its place as one of the main foreign exchange earners of our country. The Fisheries Resources Bill continues to provide food security and livelihood for thousands of Belizeans.”
New Fisheries Bill Also Effective for Inland Resources
Orange Walk South Area Representative, Jose Abelardo Mai spoke of the legislation in the context of the New River crisis of 2019. According to Mai, the Fisheries Resources Bill also allows for the protection of inland resources such as the New River Lagoon.
Jose Abelardo Mai, Area Rep, Orange Walk South
“The existing act, I understand was from 1948, it was enacted in 1948. So while we are signatories to international conventions and treaties to protect our natural resources, we are not in conformity. So this act today, Mr. Speaker, allows us to fall into conformity with all these agreements that we have signed. One of the good things I like about this act, being from Orange Walk inland, is that it allows us the opportunity for inland water reserves and conservation. What happened to us in Orange Walk with New River is a wakeup call, we took everything for granted. We took everything for granted and we all contributed to the pollution of a very important waterway in Orange Walk. This bill now allows us to implement the inland water conservation practices and to declare certain areas as such. During the New River crisis, I was doing some research and I came across several organizations that provide and have funding for such implementation of these reserves and protected areas and I want to propose to this honorable house that an area to look at carefully is south of the New River, or rather the New River Lagoon. It is my belief that it is an area that can still be managed, that is what flows into the river. This act now allows us for that great opportunity and we must work on that Mr. Speaker.”