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Vonetta Dawson from Dangriga recognized as Fisher of the Year

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Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2022. 1:48 pm CST.

Photo Credit: Belize Fisheries Department

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Vonetta Dawson from Dangriga voted Fisher of the Year 2022 was recognized on Caribbean Fisherfolk Day on Wednesday, June 29, along with two other outstanding fishermen at a ceremony at UWI Open Campus in Belize City.

The Belize Fisheries Department, Belize Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, and Wildlife Conservation Society organized the award ceremony, which was the final event of Fisherfolk Month 2022, celebrated under the theme: ‘Collective Action for a Safe and Resilient Caribbean Fisheries’.

The other two Outstanding Fishers recognized are Marcio Gonzalez from Chunox, Corozal District, and Jason Young from Rancho Dolores, Belize District.

Dawson, Gonzalez and Young, according to the WCS, said that together they have about 80 years of experience as fishers.

Dawson said women can do as well as men, but many times women are underestimated.

The WCS said Dawson as Fisher of the Year received $3,000, from The Nature Conservancy – TNC in Belize and the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation (MBECA). She also received a gift basket from Belize Electricity Limited, and souvenirs from Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA) and Oceana Belize, plus a glass plaque from WCS.

The two outstanding fishers received $1,250 each from TNC and MBECA, plus TASA and Oceana souvenirs.

“WCS congratulates these men and woman, who exemplify the qualities of outstanding Belizean fishers,” said the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“In Belize, the fishing industry contributes to roughly around 3% of GDP, but the contribution it makes to community livelihoods far exceeds this amount,” said the Fisheries Department in a social media post congratulating the winners of the Fisher awards.

“The livelihoods of countless Belizeans are directly dependent on the bounties of the sea, whether as extracted fisheries products or from revenues through tourism-related activities. Like this fisherfolk month’s theme let us heed the call for greater and closer cooperation amongst government, academia, NGO partners and very importantly fisherfolk and fisherfolk groups for an integrated system conducive to a resilient and sustainable fishery.”

“Your nominations are indicative of people recognizing you all as responsible fishers who are champions for change and have a commitment to ensuring and safeguarding the social and ecological sustainability of small-scale fisheries in Belize.”

The Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association said it joined the WCS Belize and fisheries management partners in congratulating “two remarkable Turneffe fishers” in reference to Gonzalez and Young.

“Mr. Gonzalez and Mr. Young have been and continue to be stewards of the TAMR (Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve),” said TASA.

“Through their responsible fishing practices, they consistently support TASA’s conservation efforts for the TAMR, and for over 25 years of fishing, they have advocated for their fisher colleagues to adopt similar practices.

“We are incredibly grateful for their continued support and would once again like to congratulate them on their outstanding achievement.”

 

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