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Senators write to Fisheries Department requesting moratorium on gillnets

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2018. 5:27 am CST.

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2018. 4:42 AM. CST.

By BBN Staff:  Business Senator Markhelm Lizarraga and NGO Senator Osmany Salas have written a letter to Belize’s Fisheries Administrator, Beverly Wade requesting a moratorium on the use of gill nets.

According to the Senators, on November 10, 2018, they visited Southern Belize where they observed boats loaded with gillnets in the vicinity of the Sarstoon River, the Moho River mouth, and the Sarstoon River mouth.

The Senators noted that the boats displayed Belizean registration numbers.

“We write to urge your Department to immediately institute a moratorium on the issuance of permits/licenses for the use of gill nets in Belize’s waters, with a view to completely phase out the use of gillnets. Gillnets, as you know, are notorious for indiscriminately trapping and killing marine life. This practice, if allowed to continue, will jeopardize our marine life, the fishing and tourism industries, and our food security,” the letter expressed.

The Senators also called for the implementation of a strategy to ban gill nets use completely in the country.

“The strategy should also consider the traditional fisher folks, such as those who fish within the Corozal Bay, whose livelihoods fully depend on the use of gill nets. We strongly recommend that, as part of the gillnet fishing phasing out strategy, these traditional gillnet fisher folks be trained in other less harmful fishing methods,” the letter to the Fishing Administrator further stated.

The Senators also requested for immediate steps to be taken to stop and deter the countless instances of Guatemalan fisherfolk from engaging in gillnet fishing along our coast, in our waters, and on our portion of the Sarstoon River. 

With the participation and support of the Gillnet Task Force, the Senators are hoping for the development and implementation of the phasing out and banning of gill nets in Belize.

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