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New Fisheries Bill approved by Senate, on its way to Governor-General

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Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2020. 1:11 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: This week, the Senate approved Belize’s new Fisheries Resources Bill, which will see much-needed changes to the way the fisheries industry is managed.

With the Senate’s approval yesterday, the Bill now goes on to the Governor-General for assent then publishing in the Gazette before officially becoming law.

Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade explained that the Bill will facilitate the collective impact of government, non-government organizations and fishing associations and cooperatives working together as a mechanism for both effective implementation and strong social capital in communities.

“This new Act is seated within the emerging paradigm shift in Fisheries Management in which the focus has extended beyond the immediate fish stocks being harvested, to the broader set of aquatic organisms for both marine and freshwater systems, as well as associated ecosystems; and the social dimensions and considerations associated with their responsible use,” Wade said.

WCSBelize, a conservation organization that was instrumental in the data collection, consultation and drafting of the Bill since the process began in 2009, applauded Belize for making such a bold step in ensuring the sustainability of the industry.

WCS President & CEO Dr. Cristián Samper said: “We wholeheartedly applaud Belize for passing this new fisheries legislation. WCS has been working alongside the Belizean government for more than 30 years, and we remain committed to supporting this next chapter for fisheries and the stewardship of aquatic resources in the country.”

WCS noted that the new Bill replaces previous legislation in place for almost seven decades and aims to modernize and transform Belize’s small-scale fishing industry and pledged to continue working with stakeholders to help with implementation, strengthening compliance measures, and working with fishers around the country to sensitize them about the content of the Bill.

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