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Jun 5, 2019

Amendments to Fisheries Bill to be Tabled, But When?

For almost a decade, the Fisheries Department along with its partners has been working on amendments to the Fisheries Bill.  The amendments to the bill, if approved and enacted, are to more effectively and efficiently enforce fisheries regulations, as well as to encourage sustainable fisheries management.  The amendments to the bill also seek to protect additional marine life from overfishing. Cabinet received the draft bill in March 2014, and those amendments have yet to be tabled in the House of Representatives. In an interview conducted recently, Executive Director for the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association Valdemar Andrade along with the Conservation Compliance Supervisor at the Fisheries Department Hampton Gamboa expressed the urgency with which was amendments to the bill are needed.


Valdemar Andrade

Valdemar Andrade, Executive Director, TASA

“We have been working on amendments to the fisheries bill for the past nine years. We feel we have tightened it s best as possible and as practical as possible because in Belize it is also not just putting in place legislation that is not practical, that we will not be able then be able to enforce on the ground or to be able to hold people accountable to. So we have worked with that over the last nine years. I myself have been involved along with the Fisheries Department, WCS and the Environmental Fund over the last year and half, fine tuning it and now we are waiting for it to go to Cabinet and then to the House.It is utmost critical because it creates the framework for us to look at putting the teeth on managed access program, looking at landing sites so we will be able to account for traceability for fishing products, looking at more species to be included for protection  that we know are in  critical danger. We also look at fines conversant to what illegal activities have been taking place because that is not enough of a deterrent under the current act. Looking at using technology, monitoring systems to know where the vessels are in a whole. Those aspects are very important to be put in place.”


Hampton Gamboa

Hampton Gamboa, Supervisor, Conservation Compliance Unit, Fisheries Dept.

“Yes there is a fisheries bill that is sitting or waiting for approval. I want to say the better word, waiting for approval for the past few years. In the bill certain things that I am aware of, it will help us as it relates amending or give us the power to regulate some of the charges and the fines and then we can have more input into the different fines and charges. And we can also add.”

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