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Dec 8, 2010

Oceana’s Ted Danson and Cesar Gaviria lead way against trawling

He’s no ordinary visitor; OCEANA reeled in the big fish today and brought Ted Danson from HBO’s television series Curb your Enthusiasm along with the former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria. They are here to support marine conservation. OCEANA, government and the Northern Fishermen Cooperative signed off to ban trawling, a huge accomplishment for conservationists. The signing was followed by a press conference this afternoon. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The signing of a statutory instrument to prohibit bottom trawling within our territorial waters has made Belize the third country in the world to fully outlaw the fishing practice.  Minister of Fisheries Rene Montero along with representatives from the Northern Fishermen Cooperative and members of the board of directors of Oceana were all signatories to the passage of a law that will become effective as of January 2011.  The request to disallow the use of large fishing traps was made a few years ago but government found itself in a pickle as it could not readily dispose of existing trawlers.

Today, however, marks a milestone in the efforts of Oceana to address the issues of Belize’s marine resources with the fishing and environmental communities.  Actor Ted Danson who is also a member of the organization shared his concerns about the conservation of marine life.

Ted Danson, Actor, Member of Oceana

ted danson


“One of the things that we are concerned about is the habitat, the nurseries where these fish grow up and to be bigger fish that we like to eat.  And the major source of those nurseries are reefs and you here in your country are the second largest reef in the world and it is precious it’s beautiful and today by signing that law you have done a huge thing for the ocean.  I think it’s very courageous and we’re all very, very excited.  Like the minister said I think only two other countries have ever done this, ban trawling from all of your waters.”

Equally important is the management of those resources as it is among the main attractions in the tourism industry.

manuel heredia jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“Fisheries doesn’t stay behind.  It is a component of the tourism industry because if tourists would come over here and cannot eat our wonderful lobsters and fish that we have over here then a lot of them would not be here.  We are very fortunate as they said that today you can take your dives, scuba diving, snorkeling and you can see abundance of fish still yet in Belize.  And for that reason as a responsible government, a government that believes in sustainability.  We are here to cooperate with you all to make sure that we do as much as we can within our reach.”

The signing of the statutory instrument was also endorsed by the former president of Colombia who acknowledged that the future of Belize lies in the fishing and tourism industries.

Cesar Gaviria, Former President, Colombia

cesar gaviria


“It’s very, very important that you create the conditions for the future of tourism being preserved, the future of fishing because that is the work.  Those are the jobs for the people of this country in the future so the decision you have taken is very important.  It’s not the third country to ban bottom trawling but it’s the third country to ban all bottom trawling and that’s what makes the decision more courageous.  To really protect because you know it’s risky to have trawlers just moving around the coral reef and all that because there are, the seabed has to be protected also.  And now you have to start on contamination, you have to start on having cleaned the beaches and you have to work to be certain that this country can be sold internationally as a very environmentally friendly country.”

The move to ban bottom trawling comes on the heels of a request by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) asking government to give an account of corrective measures taken to avoid Belize’s barrier reef system from being delisted as a world heritage site. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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7 Responses for “Oceana’s Ted Danson and Cesar Gaviria lead way against trawling”

  1. Mr. B says:

    Excellent! Problem…who will enforce it? What if any penalties? One of the biggest problems in Belize is that there is no enforcement or penalties for breaking the laws! Lets not forget about corruption. WAKE UP BELIZE!

  2. fromafar says:

    I agree with Mr. B. We always seem to say the right things, but are terrible at following it up.

    We bust a few drug deals, arrest a couple people etc….. This time we’re messing with the planet, and I hope we have the right people enforcing the right culture of enforcement.

    Please, lets just do the right thing for a change.

    WAKE UP BELIZE!!!!

  3. rasman says:

    It seems our Belizean politicians become quick believers when outsiders reminds them about their obligations to the environment than we the poor and marginalized people tell them. We have been singing this for a long time. The next will perhaps be oil. Maybe if another outside big fish come in then Dean will ban oil explorations offshore and in PA. Wake up Belize

  4. OW Resident says:

    Belizeans why wait for a foriegner to come along to tell us what to do. We are an intelligent society that can think for itself. Or do we always need to be payed to in order do do thingss. OCEANA how will we get marine shrimp now? Did you guys made a plan or just flashed the green backs to the fishers for them to accept. This seemed a bit shaddy.

  5. True Belizean says:

    OMG!!! Ted in Belize!!! i liked the movie Mad Money!!!! He’s a great actor….
    Wished i could meet him!!

  6. Nayo 4 the Bay says:

    Ted Danson has a lot of money in his bank account. He dont care if the fisherfolk die of hunger. Ted Danson GO HOME and leave Belize alone.

  7. Manford says:

    Your point is well taken rasman, except its hard to match the power of the oil companies.

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