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Fishermen Cooperative Association says ban on gillnet fishing is “shameful and corrupt” – threatens to take action

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Posted: Sunday, November 8, 2020. 7:37 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Last week, the Government of Belize (GOB) signed legislation banning the use and possession of gillnets within Belizean waters. The move was hailed by conservation NGO’s as historic, placing Belize as a world leader in sustainable development practices; however, the Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association (BFCA), has come out against the decision, calling it “shameful, corrupt, and inexcusable.”

The BFCA issued a statement today, saying that it does not support the ban that came into effect with the passage of Statutory Instrument (S.I) No. 158 of 2020 on Thursday, November 5, and is requesting that GOB retract the SI.

The group said that it was not included in the Coalition for Sustainable Fisheries, the body which signed the agreement with the GOB to work towards the phase-out of gillnets, and went as far as to say that the NGO’s represented on the coalition agreed with the ban for selfish reasons. The group also made targeted accusations at OCEANA Belize, one of the key organizations that had advocated for the Gillnet ban.

“BFCA also calls out all those two-faced NGO’s that aligned themselves with OCEANA for a meager promise to receive MONETARY support. BFCA formally informs these NGO’s that fishers will no longer collaborate in any of their projects until this matter is resolved,” the BFCA said.

The group, which has been protesting the ban on gillnets since 2018, said that the decision would take much-needed revenue from fishermen and their families and increase poverty in Belize. The BFCA has said that it will take action but did not specify what that action would be.

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