Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016. 8:33 p.m. CST.
By Zoila Palma: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release today stating that the United States of America Secretary of State John Kerry invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize, Wilfred Elrington, to attend the third annual Our Ocean Conference, held in Washington, D.C.
The event will be held from 15-16th September, in conjunction with Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Sustainable Ocean’s alliance. The conference aims to “inspire and empower a new generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, and civil society to identify solutions and commit to actions to protect and conserve our oceans and its resources.”
Many pertinent issues relating to Belize are encompassed in this conference namely marine protected areas and sustainable fisheries. Some of the major challenges to fisheries in Belize involve illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Our nation’s waters currently experience illegal fishing and exportation of products to neighboring countries, accounting for almost 15 percent of national fisheries.
The Government of Belize has taken various initiatives to curb this issue, such as the introduction of a Managed Access management system, wherein fishers choose two of nine fishing areas where they are expected to remain in the future.
The Belize Fisheries Department has increased training of personnel and the testing of new technologies such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), which aims to ultimately reduce costs on patrols.
This conference provides a necessary platform to open dialogue on these issues affecting Belize, as well as the rest of the world.
The release ends by stating that the global community is well aware of the threats facing our oceans and its resources and the need for organized action.
Elrington departed the country on Tuesday and will return on Saturday.
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