Oceana and the Belize Coalition for Sustainable Fisheries have committed via written letters of intent to the Government of Belize, over BZ$ 2 Million dollars to assist Belizean fishers transition away from gillnet use in Belize’s waters.

Both Oceana and the Coalition require that the Government of Belize take the necessary legal steps in 2019 to declare a ban on gillnets beginning in 2020. This policy change will support sustainable fisheries management efforts and ensure that Belizean fishers will always be able to fish.

Eligible beneficiaries for this initiative have been identified by the Belize Fisheries Department in response to the request made under the Freedom of Information Act.

Gillnets are notorious for indiscriminately trapping and killing marine life. This practice, if allowed to continue, will continue to jeopardize biodiversity, the fishing and tourism industries and our own food security.

Moreover, gillnets are the gear of choice for illegal fishing which continues to degrade the integrity of our marine resources, threatens our national security, undermines Belizean livelihoods and further comprises our food security. Addressing illegal fishing activity in Belizean water is, and therefore, should be treated as an urgent national priority.

Both Oceana and the Coalition remain committed to supporting fishers as they transition away from gillnet use in Belizes waters.