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Nov 10, 2020

Gillnets are banned in Belize! Oceana Belize celebrates!

Last week Friday, the Government announced a ban on gillnets. It’s a historic and major accomplishment for the conservation community and those whose livelihoods are impacted by gillnetting.  With the signing of the Statutory Instrument, it is now illegal to possess and use gillnets in Belize’s waters. This announcement follows years of consultations and petitioning. The decision makes Belize one of the few countries with a complete ban on gill net fishing. As we’ve reported, the steps to this ban was initiated when the government announced a moratorium on gillnet licenses, as well as the collaborative effort between the Government, Coalition for Sustainable Fisheries and Oceana Belize to support gillnet fishers to transition to a more sustainable form of livelihood. Today, Oceana Vice President spoke on the landmark decision that they have been lobbying for years.


Janelle Chanona, VP Oceana Belize

Janelle Chanona

“As you know, Statutory Instrument one fifty-eight of twenty-twenty came into being last week Thursday and we were made aware last Friday. We needed it to be gazette and then publicized. And that is what happened on Friday. Just to remind a little bit, this is the culmination of an exhaustive process on the bureaucratic end that Andrew will speak to but certain decades in the making. This has been an issue that has been on the fore in several sectors dating back to the early 1990’s. I believe several of you have seen our gillnet documentary that that even speaks of a fisherman led petition back in 1997. Now we have the ban in place and we are looking at next steps in terms of this program, but most importantly supporting sustainable fishing practices overall so that Belizean fishers can always depend on the Caribbean Sea for food, for jobs and way of life. Certainly, I know all of us will play an important role in letting the world know what Belize has done. We have never shied away as a country of showing our leadership and showing that we are protecting what we love and what we need. If what we have done inspires other leaders and other countries to follow suit then that will be all the more important.”

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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