Fishing allowed but only with a valid license, says Belize Coast Guard in San Pedro
On Saturday, August 15th during the presentation of the updated State of Emergency Statutory Instrument (SI), the Attorney General, Honourable Michael Peyrefitte said that the current lockdown in San Pedro Town will be extended until early September, and all forms of fishing (commercial and sustenance) would not be allowed. This triggered an outcry from islanders as many depend on fishing to provide food for their families amidst the current COVID-19 community spread on the island. Many community members, including local politicians, advocated for a change in this decision, pointing out that the updated SI allows fishing for livelihood and sustenance. On Sunday, August 16th, the San Pedro Town Council announced the lift of the ban via their Facebook page. However, the Belize Coast Guard on the island is only allowing persons with a valid fishing license to do so.
The San Pedro Sun reached out to Lieutenant John Diego overseeing operations in San Pedro. He briefly responded with a message that only persons with a valid fishing license would be allowed to fish. When asked about fishing off docks or beach areas, there was no response. Under the new amended SI, page 6, one of the clauses states that fishing for livelihood and sustenance is permitted, except for sport and leisure fishing. There is no mention of the need for a fishing license. Residents on the island say the conflicting information has them hesitant to fish for food. Some shared that they were informed by the coast guard that if caught fishing out at sea without a license, they will be arrested. Additionally, the coast guard claimed that the National Oversight Committee and the head of the Ministry of National Security have ruled this as law.
Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun
Re: Commercial Fishing Allowed, How About Fishing for Sustenance?
#544305 08/19/2004:54 AM08/19/2004:54 AM
In San Pedro, hundreds, if not thousands have lost their jobs in the tourism industry. And, with the island in a full shutdown, for many getting a daily meal is proving difficult to impossible. That's why for many residents, the island is returning to its roots as a fishing village. They are fishing for sustenance, to eat a daily meal. But, on Saturday, that was put into question when the attorney general said this on Ask The Experts:
Michael Peyrefitte, AG "We don't want people to go fishing in San Pedro as yet, why? Because then it becomes difficult for the Coast guard to maintain a structure and order to lockdown the island. You go fishing, 5 will give you 10, if some people go fishing somebody will take off on a boat to come to Belize City and that becomes hard to police, hard to police and so we want people to hold off on that activity for right now within San Pedro proper."
Since then the Coast Guard has confirmed that only persons with a fishing license can go out and fish. And they cannot go beyond the reef.
The Coast Guard has 8 vessels keeping an eye on the island's waters. Townspeople are clamoring for at least being allowed to fish off piers.
SP Tour Guide Asks: "How Will We Eat"
Indeed, times are hard on the once prosperous island town. And this evening, three former tour guides stood in front of the island's town council to complain about the anti-fishing law and the entire state of lockdown. They may not have had the numbers, but they had a strong message: asking how the government expects them to be able to feed their families with the state of their livelihood, tourism, in complete freefall. We have this clip from the San Pedro Sun:
Iboy also called on Belizeans countrywide including the leaders of several prominent unions to join one united national cause saying, quote, "we can no longer afford to separately fight for our own agendas."