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Jun 5, 2019

SEA Needs Enforcement Support to Take on Illegal Fishers

Arreini Palacio

Back in April we reported on the three Honduran fishermen caught illegally fishing within the Spawning Aggregation Zone at the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve in southern Belize. But that is just one of the many illegal fishing encounters we have told you about and the Southern Environmental Association which co-manages the site says that the illegal fishers are just not letting up. While SEA’s rangers, along with Fisheries Department personnel and Coast Guard do patrols and enforce the laws of the protected area, Executive Director Arreini Palacio says it is simply not enough to combat the serious and persistent problem. Palacio says that they need more support and echoes the sentiments of the wider conservation community that the passage of the amended Fisheries Bill is much needed and is a critical part of helping to address illegal activities inside the marine reserve.

 

Arreini Palacio, Executive Director, SEA

“Enforcement is absolutely a problem here. The spawning aggregation site is a site that is used by some local fishers but over the past years is being utilized by fishers coming across the borders to fish especially at night. So, we need to boost up our own enforcement as the non-governmental organization. We have partners such as the Fisheries Department and the Coast Guard who assist us from time to time during the night patrols. You would know recently in the media that we have made a couple arrests of Honduran fishers and that is something that happens on an annual basis. It is something that we have to crack down on. The fees that we get from tourists that visit South Silk Caye; that visit Laughing Bird Caye go straight into the protected areas and into enforcement.”

 

Reporter

“But it is just not enough?”

 

Arreini Palacio

“It is absolutely not enough. We absolutely need far more feet on the ground; feet in the sea in order to protect our spawning aggregation sites and to manage our protected areas.”

 

Reporter

“Is SEA one of those entities which is pushing for the Fisheries Act to be put into play?”

 

Arreini Palacio

“We absolutely support the passing of the Fisheries Bill. That will be instrument and help for our enforcement.”


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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