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Jul 8, 2016

OCEANA Weighs in on the Need for Policies in Fishing Industry

Janelle Chanona

OCEANA supports a comprehensive approach to fishing which would include policies and structure as well as support for fisherfolk, since so many in the country depend on the industry for their survival, and that industry is in some peril. Vice President Janelle Chanona acknowledges that it won’t happen overnight, but she does want to see some movement forward in a sustainable approach to fishing.

 

Janelle Chanona, Vice President, OCEANA Belize

“This year the Fisheries Department says it has given out 169 licenses to Belizeans to use gillnets. Of that number Ministry officials are also agreeing with us that it’s a lot less in terms of full time use. That is to say that most of the 169 are only using gillnets seasonally. So it is clear – when we are talking about all of this it’s not about the habitat resource or the biological resource – it’s the people resource. At the end of the day people are the ones that are going to be affected, and in terms of fisheries it’s a lot of people. So we acknowledge that fishermen will need support to transition to other gear, to other livelihoods, but there has to be a catalyst to incentivize them to change because we’ve been talking about addressing destructive gear such as gillnets for far too long and the gillnet fishers who are proponents of maintaining gillnets will admit to you that they themselves are not seeing the numbers that they used to see, so they are seeing that downward trend. So they are open to it, but they will tell you straight up they can’t do it overnight. We are not asking for overnight, we are asking for a phase-out, of moving towards that.”

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