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All licensed commercial fishers in San Pedro are invited to a special meeting to discuss the Fisheries Regulations along with the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, and the Belize Fisheries Department.

Date: Wednesday, 25th May 2022
Time: 6pm
Venue: Lion's Den

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Ministry of Blue Economy Meets with San Pedro Fishing Community

On Wednesday, the Ministry of the Blue Economy held a public meeting with fishermen in San Pedro Town to discuss the amendment to the fisheries regulation for a four point five ounce lobster tail weight. The meeting was held at the San Pedro Lion's Den. News Five's Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

Minister of the Blue Economy Andre Perez along with C.E.O. Kennedy Carrillo, and the Fisheries Department met with a group of fishermen, who do not accept the proposed regulation. It was a heated discussion involving veteran fishermen sharing their experiences in the fishing industry.

San Pedro Fisherman

"We got we family. Twenty-one fools can’t judge over so much fisherman yah dah San Pedro. Unu di do lone fool mien. We need patrols, we noh need no more laws. We need people weh competent, weh love dehn Belizeans. We noh need no bunch ah fools weh love the white man."

Philip ‘Billy’ Leslie, Former Fisherman

"Fishing is not going down because of the fisherman. Fishing is going down because we are not protecting the same thing that is needed to grow them - our mangroves."

The fishermen expressed to the members of the head table that the amendment to increase the lobster tails for sustainable purposes is unnecessary as they have been fishing for decades, using the same practices, and lobsters are still in large numbers out at sea.

Alfredo Rubio, San Pedro Fisherman

"We do not accept this four point five ounces on the lobster tails this is something that we will never accept as a fisherman."

Others shared that there was a lack of consultation, claiming that when the new law is enforce their livelihoods will be jeopardize. Activist Oscar Iboy is a tour guide by trade, but came out in support of the fishermen.

Oscar Iboy, Activist, San Pedro Town

"They woulda neva had this issue if they would have consult with people with what the laws they are passing because you can’t just pass a law and done. For example, the one with the hook stick. That is something that's been used - how the fishermen end up di acquire that tool to catch these lobsters because there is a skill to it. I have seen the anger in the people because they needed the consultation to weh di things weh dehn di pass through. They done the pass laws about the size and this thing and it will kill the fisherman livelihood."

Despite the expression of discontent by the fishers, the Ministry of Blue Economy has been facing them, willing to provide alternatives and other ways to balance off the loss.� And at the end of the meeting, Minister Perez said the regulation will be deferred for a year and consultations will take place.

Andre Perez, Minister of Blue Economy

"We did agree that maybe another year to delay, to defer it - not to amend, but defer. But we must implement sooner than later. By that I mean we cannot be sitting down to say if not now then when; we have to set a date. And I think that monitoring it closely, this year we have to defer and the next year that comes in we want to implement and working closely with the fisher-folks - not only here in San Pedro, Caye Caulker Sarteneja, but down south as well - closely monitoring that the lobster is going to be four and a half ounces and then see how the production."

Some fishermen stated that they will continue to fight against the regulations. Duane Moody for News Five.

The ministry is asking each fishing community to identify three persons who will

form part of a community advisory group with whom they will be able to consult continuously. This will also provide the fishers to access the ministry about their concerns and suggestions.

Channel 5

SP fishers not happy with new fisheries regulation; Area Rep meets with island fisher-folks

There was a heated discussion at the San Pedro Lions Den on Wednesday, May 25th, as fishers attended a public meeting with representatives from the Fisheries Department and the Ministry of the Blue Economy. The island fishermen claim their livelihood could be jeopardized by the recent amendment prohibiting fishers from trapping lobsters with a tail weight of less than 4.5 ounces, replacing the currently approved threshold of four ounces. The discussions, which have been taking place in other fishing communities in the country, ended up with the ministry agreeing to delay the new policy for one year to continue engaging the fisher-folks. Regardless, the San Pedro fishermen at the meeting said they reject the legislation and will continue rallying against it.

The Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of the Blue Economy, Kennedy Carillo, briefly welcomed those in attendance at the public meeting that started just after 6PM. The Area Representative and head of the said ministry, Hon. Andre Perez invited the fishers to be part of the discussion and committed to compromise to move forward. Questions and suggestions followed a short presentation from Acting Administrator at the Fisheries Department, Rigoberto Quintana. His presentation included the fact that in 2009 Belize signed a binding agreement with the Organization of Fisheries and Agriculture in Central America (OSPESCA) to change the required sizes for lobsters and increase the gaps in the traps.

One of the most respected fishermen on the island, 78-year-old Wilfredo Alamilla Sr., shared his life experience as a fisherman for over 60 years. He pressed on the importance of engaging the fishing communities in decisions that will affect their livelihood. Alamilla pointed out that if the new regulation is to ensure sustainability, the current practices have been in place for decades, proof of sustainable fishing. Alamilla added that fishers are not the problem, but the lack of enforcement as other people who pretend to be fishermen are breaking the law. The proposed requirement of lobster tails weighing 4.5 ounces is considered a complicated matter that could dent the fishing folks.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

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Marty Offline OP
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San Pedro Fishers Take On Their Area Rep On News Fisheries Regs

We turn now to Wednesday night's stakeholders meeting between the Ministry of Blue Economy and the fisherfolk from San Pedro.

The meeting was an extended session in which Minister Andre Perez spoke to a tough crowd of his constituents in Belize Rural South - which are native fishing communities. He was trying to convince them that the new fisheries regulations, which increase the minimum size of lobster tails from 4 ounces to 4.5 ounces, are in the industry's best interest for the long term.

And similar to the fisherfolk of Sarteneja, last night's attendees strenuously resisted it. It was streamed live on Facebook by one of the fishers, and here's an excerpt of the testy back and forth:

Channel 7

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