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Nov 12, 2018

More Enforcement Needed to Address Gillnets in Belizean Waters

Valdemar Andrade

The use of gillnets have been a perennial issue and Cabinet has formed a task force with relevant partners to address the sustainability of fishing practices in Belize and the livelihoods of fishers in the area.  The TASA says there is need for greater enforcement efforts in the protected area, but the process is clear and there is need for more support from groups including the Turneffe Atoll Trust and the Belize Federation of Fishers.


Valdemar Andrade, Executive Director, TASA

“Fortunately, we do have good support from donors and we are also discussing with the Protected Areas Conservation Trust under their conservation investment strategy to get more enforcement on the ground. We, especially for gillnets in many instances we don’t find the fishers. We do find the nets set, but the fishers are not there like in this case. In the past cases, we have found at least one where we found the fishers, but most of the others have been without any fishers in the presence. And they will not come and claim those, obviously. But we do early morning patrols and night patrols because those are mostly set at night. This whole gillnet issue has been an issue for a while and now cabinet has agreed that they have formed a taskforce with all the relevant parties onboard because it is a critical issue that deals with the sustainability of fishing practices in Belize, but it also deals with livelihoods for a number of fishers within the area. Organizations like Turneffe Atoll Trust and the Belize Federation of Fishers getting into the media the way they did, I believe can severely derail this kind of process if the information is not clear and factual because giving the impression that there is no enforcement on Turneffe or there is no enforcement at all because there are many co-managers who are enforcing; however, we need to take into account all the evidence and all the science that is there before a decision is made on how this is managed forward. And that is what the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development; they are the ones taking the lead to be able to do that and move it forward.”


TASA needs help to curb illegal activities; anyone with information is  asked to call 670-8272 or 223-1927.

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