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Oct 7, 2019

Guadalupe Lampella and Dale Fairweather are Ocean Heroes 2019

OCEANA’s heroes in marine conservation work were named over the weekend. They are persons who have made an impact in working to safeguard and conserve the ocean through sustainable practices. First, News Five’s Andrea Polanco, who has distinguished herself in the region for journalistic reporting on environmental issues, was recognized by OCEANA.  Andrea was named Environmental Journalist of the Year.  Second, the two heroes, Guadalupe Lampella and Dale Fairweather, are fisher folks who have spent their lives advocating for the sustainability of the fishing industry.  Here is Hipolito Novelo with a report.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Since 2009, OCEANA Belize has been recognizing Belizeans for their crucial work and contributions to ocean conservation. These wave makers are called Ocean Heroes and on Saturday during a brief ceremony in Belize City, two great contributors were added to the growing list. The call for nominations was made and according to Oceana Vice President, Janelle Chanona, nominees needed to posses certain elements and the love for what they do.


Janelle Chanona

Janelle Chanona, V.P., OCEANA Belize

“In our nomination process we asked for impact, national in scope, long term impact to call out sustainable action and practices and certainly commitment, documentation of commitment to this. We don’t want somebody doing something as part of a project. It is really about a lifetime commitment and all our awardees to date borne that out.”


Ocean Hero 2019 Dale Fairweather found his love for the sea in Placencia where he grew up. He has been a fisherman since 1985, searching for conch, lobster and finfish at Turneffe Atoll. Fairweather has progressed with the times, advocating for sustainable practices within the fisherfolk community.


Dale Fairweather

Dale Fairweather, Ocean Hero 2019

“I fish for deep slope fishing and I also dive for lobster and conch. A day for me is doing one of those. It is just like another job. I work from six in the morning, until midday and then I work from one o’clock to six in the evening. It is really a twelve hour day. I also try the best that I can to advocate for change. In our fishing industry right now, we take everything. We need to change. We need to leave the big ones so we can have a stock. We need to have what they call the breeding stock. We need to work with the Fisheries Department and the NGOs and really sit down and listen to what the fisherman is telling them. You don’t have to take all because they would be none to reproduce.”


Since she was a girl, Guadalupe Lampella has been part of the fisherfolk community. Lampella became a strong and influential fisherwoman within the community. She grew up in southern Belize where she realized that the fish stock was depleting rapidly and decided to advocate for sustainable practices. In 2016 she was recognized for Outstanding Fisher Folk. Lampella was not able to make the ceremony. She was represented by her son, Pablo Mendoza.


Pablo Mendoza

Pablo Mendoza, Son of Guadalupe Lampella

“The most important person in my life is my mom. She means everything to me. I know she would have been more than happy to receive this award. Pretty much everything I know is from my mom. I have to give thanks to her for everything that I have learned. She has been my mom and dad at the same time so that is what makes her special for me. She always talks a lot about her and my uncle. They always worked together. Some of it are amazing stories that left me in awe for being a woman. It is real amazing, amazing.”


Chanona says it is important for the wider community to recognize the need for sustainability within the fishing industry.


Janelle Chanona 

“I think it is not loss on any of us as Belizeans how important the sea is to us in terms of cultural identity, jobs in tourism and fishing and just how we see ourselves as Belizeans; second longest barrier in the world as one word kind of thing. But I definitely feel that this event really highlights that the sea is something truly that connects all of us whether it stories through food, through culture and livelihoods. It is really the great unifier and at a time so much life is trying to divide us it is really heartfelt and heartwarming the sea brings us together.”


As part of the ceremony, News Five’s Andrea Polanco was awarded Environmental Journalist of the Year. Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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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