By BBN Staff: Several associations representing fishermen issued a joint statement today, rejecting a proposal by Oceana Belize to buy out gillnet fishers in an effort to have the practice completely banned from Belize. The associations also said that they want Oceana out of Belize.
The statement came from the Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association (BFCA), the Shark Fishers Association (SFA), Hopkins Fishermen Association (HFA), Central Belize Fishers (CBF), Mango Creek Fishermen Association (MCFA) and the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO).
The organizations say they “completely REJECT” Oceana’s proposal for several reasons, including the fact that “responsible gillnet fishing” has been practiced in Belize for years, gillnet fishers have contributed positively to Belize’s development and the global economic climate would not support the gillnet fishers losing their livelihood.
“OCEANA is proposing an offer of $2.5 million dollars to Belizean fishers to give up their gillnets (forever). In one Lenten season, the
record reflects fisher’s income is over 2.5 million dollars. In 10 years’ time, fishers will be 25 million dollars poorer if OCEANA’s offer is accepted,” the associations said.
The associations also accused Oceana of pushing a foreign agenda in Belize and said that the organization has spearheaded activities in the past that has lead to the banning of practices that cost fisher families income.
The associations closed by saying that they are “NOW requesting of the Government of Belize to name OCEANA as PERSONA NON GRATA.”