Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2019. 10:19 am CST.
By BBN Staff: Over the past three years, Southern Environmental Organization (SEA) rangers have arrested and charged 12 Hondurans with engaging in fishing without a special license within Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve GSSCMR.
After successful prosecution of all cases, the fishers were fined, their vessels and product were confiscated.
However, illegal night fishing continues in strategic locations across the coast of Belize including Gladden Spit, depleting our fish stocks and endangering our marine ecosystem.
SEA Ranger staff comprises of ten very experienced officers.
“We have been actively involved without letting up, in marine protected areas management for over ten years but unfortunately our efforts are sometimes compromised by the inadequacies of enforcement resources and inherent weaknesses of the present law that governs fisheries management,” a statement from SEA expresses.
SEA has joined several partner organizations advocating for the passing of the Fisheries Resources Bill.
SEA says that the delay in the passing of this Bill puts at risk the work and investment of both government and fellow co-management partners.
SEA explains that the bill has stiffer penalties against violation of fisheries regulations and will deter illegal activity which threaten the delicate balance within the marine environment.
The Fishing Industry is our country’s second largest income earner which represents 3% of GDP.
It employs approximately 2,700 fishers, and 15,000 people depend on fishing for their primary source of income.
So, safeguarding its integrity and sustainability from illegal fishing activities is imperative!
The new targeted grants awarded by the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) present hope, for they directly and strategically invest in prioritized management activities within protected areas.
SEA strongly advocates for further GOB support, including resource allocation to effectively close the financial gap which currently frustrates protected areas management efforts in Belize.
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