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Feb 25, 2004

Coastal zone seeks guidance from fishermen

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According to the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute, there are more than a hundred fishing camps scattered across the cayes. But as economic trends continue to push for diversification from traditional products, fishermen say they are eager to tap into Belize’s big money maker, tourism. But according to the C.Z.M.A.I, if there’s to be any growth, it’s got to be sustainable. Today, it held a special meeting for fishing camp owners from Belize City, Lighthouse Reef, and the Turneffe islands. Turnout, however, was pitiful as only two fishermen showed up. But the Coastal Zone says it’s determined to get feedback on their plans for the conservation of Belize’s marine resources.

Stewart Cruz, Coastal Planner, C.Z.M.A.I.

“There are general, I would say, recommendations regarding land use and development in Belize but there are no specific recommendations towards development for the cayes. And that is where Coastal Zone Management Authority comes in and tries to fill in the gap. Because of limited resources, unfortunately, the Government of Belize can only plan and provide development guidelines for the mainland… And coastal zone again tries to fill in that gap by taking that overarching policy of development and applying it to the cayes. Cayes is one of the areas that hasn’t been planned for in the past and this is where coastal zone tries to fill in the gap.”

But the first gap the Coastal Zone has got to fill is the communication gap. And at least one of the two fishermen that showed up this morning, Eddie Young from Montego Caye, wasn’t afraid to make his comments on the C.Z.M.A.I. plans.

Eddie Young, Fisherman, Montego Caye

“I would have to hear their plan now, but the last plan weh deh gat, they want to put a lot of restrictions on what you can do with your camp. And I think a fisherman weh gat wah good camp, a good location and he could tun it into something else fu develop it into another business, like a tourist, I don’t think they shoulda stop them.”

Janelle Chanona

“So you think the fishermen should be left to do their own thing?”

Eddie Young

“Not do they own thing, cause you have to have certain restrictions. But you can’t come pan this and seh well you only could do the simple things. Cause the last one seh you only could put up wah too lee cabins. And sometime you put wah two lee house and dah noh that the tourist want.”

“It is good to have policies fu work by, but policies should be tempered with the location of the place and the type of development it could take.”

The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute is holding a second workshop tomorrow in Dangriga at the town hall for fishermen from the southern cayes. The meeting starts at ten a.m.

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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