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Oct 9, 2002

New legislation to upgrade shipping registry

In news from Cabinet, that executive body has announced its intention to upgrade the quality of the nation’s shipping registry through the enactment of new legislation. The High Seas Fishing Compliance Bill will require Belize flagged vessels fishing on the high seas to operate under much stricter guidelines. Those guidelines, developed by the Ministry of Fisheries in cooperation with the registering company, IMMARBE, include specific licenses to conduct fishing operations, which will be granted only if the vessels are in compliance with international conservation and management regulations. The new system will include increased monitoring by IMMARBE, including satellite tracking of vessels and mandatory reporting of catch. This will be accompanied by stricter enforcement measures, including the ultimate penalty of de-registration, if necessary. Approximately three hundred and fifty high seas fishing vessels fly the Belize flag. Viewers should note that the new legislation does not affect local fishermen, who rarely, if ever, operate on the high seas.

Cabinet has also approved the sending of relief funds to four countries hit hard by Hurricane Isidore. As a show of solidarity, ten thousand dollars each will be given to the governments of Jamaica, St. Vincent, Cuba and Mexico. Those countries aided Belize when we were hit hard by Hurricanes Keith and Iris.

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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