Posted: Tuesday, July 6, 2021. 6:36 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Albert Division Area Representative, Tracy Panton, said at the House of Representatives that Belize needs to exert more control over who is fishing in Belizean waters and expresses concern that some species are being endangered.
Panton and other members of the United Democratic Party had, prior to the Sitting of the House of Representatives, expressed disapproval of the new statutory instrument which allows permanent residents to fish commercially.
Panton made a direct appeal to Minister of the Blue Economy, André Perez, to look into the matter.
“The appeal, member from Belize Rural South, is for certainly greater surveillance, greater enforcement be done in terms of who is fishing our Belizean waters,” Panton said.
She made particular reference to the Nassau Grouper as one of the species of fish which, she said, may be endangered.
“They have described to me that some key species are already endangered I think the Nassau Grouper for example was pointed out and so that’s my appeal on their behalf … if we can have greater surveillance to ensure that as we issue more fishing licenses to those who may be entitled to them that there is also greater enforcement to ensure that we can try and stem some of the illegal fishing in our Belizean waters.”
Andre Perez, Minister of the Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, said that the government is just making things right.
“With this SI we are just fixing things, we are making things right. For the record at the Fisheries Department the last time there were only registered fisherfolk who had permanent residency so with that we’re just bringing it back.”
Perez said that he made consultations in Corozal South, Sarteneja, Hunting Caye, and Dangriga. He admitted that he did not consult everyone but added that the permanent residents who are fishermen are few in number and the Ministry can’t always be doing consultations for “forty fisherfolk.”
Perez, however, agreed with Panton that more patrolling needs to be done.
“I’ll tell you this also I acknowledge that there must be greater patrolling, but … you can bet your life savings that very soon we’re getting out more boats, more patrolling, and we’re cleaning house.”
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