Fisheries Admin says Fisheries Bill Cometh

Posted By: Marty

Fisheries Admin says Fisheries Bill Cometh - 10/09/19 11:36 AM

The Belize Network of N.G.O.s is calling for the passage of a fisheries bill to put in place mechanisms to protect the industry and fisher folks.  We asked the Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade what has been the hold up. She says there are a number of issues that have caused the delay for the new fisheries bill to be enacted. Wade says she also champions the call for this new bill and says that they have been informed that it will be tabled at the next sitting of the House of Representatives.

Beverly Wade, Fisheries Administrator

“We are actually the champions of that bill, with our partners. I could understand the advocacy from our partners because we very much need that bill to come into place to ensure that we have a modernized and robust regulatory framework to adequately ensure sustainable small scale fisheries and development in Belize. I think really the bill has suffered from a number of unfortunate delays. A lot of the delays have really been administrative changes in ministerial portfolios and each time these things happen, there is a new system of going back. It has also suffered from, because it has been delayed for so long, you tend to now have to go back and reengage stakeholders in areas that you had already done. Those are some of the unfortunate things that happen when you leave something for so long. Being optimistic now is that we have now—as far as I know, done all the consultation and we are now being told that the bill will be tabled at the next House sitting. So the Fisheries Department along with the stakeholders is looking forward to that tabling at next House sitting.”

The Delayed Fisheries Bill – What Is In It?

So, why are conservationists and their partners clamouring for the bill to be passed? Well, they say that when passed and enacted, it means that there will be stronger enforcement of fisheries regulations and increased promotion of sustainable fisheries management, among other pieces of legislation. Today, Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade shared more about some of the details of the bill and what it means for the protection and management of our natural resources.

Beverly Wade, Fisheries Administrator

“The main thing is that we have a national strategy for sustainable small scale fisheries in Belize and one of the biggest attributes to that bill is now ensuring the long term tenure and livelihoods for smalls scale fishers in Belize. So, what the bill calls for now is an element such as a management plan for each fishery you would have had established in Belize to ensure that there is the level of participation and the level of consideration for the traditional small scale fishers that have engaged in the exploitation of those resources for those resources for their livelihoods over generations. The other thing the bill does is that it formalizes the input of stakeholders into the decision making process through a legislated fisheries advisory council which now allows various stakeholders, state and non state stakeholders to now have a say in how you move forward in management policy and development of the bill. The other thing that the bill does is that it takes a holistic approach to fisheries management and it really looks at the entire ecosystem based approached which takes into consideration from the conservation to social aspects of fishers; what are those considerations and how do we now ensure that they are incorporated and integrated into the way forward with fisheries management in Belize. And finally, what the bill has done is that it has now created the framework to encourage more responsibility and stewardship from the users of the resource and to also strengthen the areas with regards to enforcement to ensure that what is in the bill are applications that serve as proper deterrents to illegal fishing.”

Channel 5

Posted By: Marty

Re: Fisheries Admin says Fisheries Bill Cometh - 12/21/19 11:13 AM

The Future Of Fisheries

The comprehensive fisheries reform law was finally introduced at today's house meeting in the national assembly. Now, it is only the first reading but it is historic for the team of conservationists and fishers who have been working on this bill since 2009. We spoke to a representative from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association who were engaged in the process from the start. They provided some context and discussed the significance of the fisheries bill.

As you heard, the bill has to be read a second and third time but it is expected that it will be passed.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: Fisheries Admin says Fisheries Bill Cometh - 01/21/20 11:41 AM

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.”

Channel 5

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