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New Fisheries Act hailed

Posted: Monday, January 6, 2020. 7:04 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: At the December 20th House of Representatives meeting, Prime Minister Dean Barrow rose to introduce the new Fisheries Act, replacing the former Cap. 210 of the Laws of Belize.

Among other things, he said, it would “make provisions in accordance with international best practices, for the management of aquatic and fisheries resources of Belize, with an aim to optimize present and future benefits through long-term conservation, management, sustainable use and development within the fisheries waters of Belize; to provide for the effective regulation of the fishing industry; [and] to provide for the management and regulation of mariculture…”

The bill was read a first time and referred to the Natural Resources and Environment Committee of the House.

But it is not expected to have much opposition. International non-governmental organization Environmental Defense Foundation (EDF) has hailed efforts to combat the effects of climate change and illegal fishing as “sweeping” and “exactly the kind of approach needed.”

Beverly Wade, Belize fisheries administrator, is quoted as saying: “This new law is a continuation of Belize’s commitment to protect both its vibrant reefs and its fishing sector by empowering our communities with the right tools. Through community engagement, better enforcement and our Managed Access approach, our healthier ocean waters will help us reduce poverty, improve food security and increase investment in Belize.”

A taskforce of non-government organizations, fishers, fishing associations, and government agencies, have been working at revising this Bill since 2010 with a rigorous consultative process over almost a decade of work.


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