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Mar 29, 2022

Belize Now Able to Monitor Fishing Vessels Live

Belize has joined several Central and South American countries in being able to monitor its fishing vessels live via Global Fishing Watch. It follows a partnership that began in 2021 among the Belize High Seas Fishing Unit, Global Fishing Watch and Oceana Belize. They decided to work together to monitor Belizean fishing vessels, or those flagged to Belize, through a live map. This enables the Belize High Seas Fisheries Unit to see what activities Belize’s fishing vessels are engaged in, who they interact with, and take action when needed.


Robert Robinson

Robert Robinson, Deputy Director, Belize High Seas Fisheries Unit

“Because of the vast expanse of the oceans, it is almost impossible for any country around the world to have patrol vessels policing its flagged vessels on the high seas so we rely primarily on those remote features, the satellite-based communication equipment, the reporting, the observer coverage, and of course we substantiate and verify all this data with discharge inspections when vessels come into port. We can now see the vessels of all other countries around the world and tell what those vessels are doing in relation to our vessels. So it allows us to bridge that gap and keep a closer eye of the activities of our vessels in relation to those vessels and that’s a very important step for us to combat any type of illegal activity that might be occurring on the high seas.”


Marion Ali

“IF you’re monitoring from land, what kind of interventions can you make when you see illegal activities happening on the high seas?”


Robert Robinson

“We’re in direct communication with the masters and the agents – the operators of these vessels and when a vessel is designated as a vessel of interest, it effectively puts all their business to rest. They are unable to trade, operate, do anything. So it is in the best interest of owners and operators to comply with the requirements that are set forth by a flag state administration and being in close communication with the masters of these vessels, we are able to question their activities when it is that we don’t know what they’re doing. We’re able to require a vessel to return to port. We’re able to exercise several controls that are outlined on our legislation. And whenever you have a vessel that is not compliant with any of our requests or requirements then there is always a final step to designate that vessel as an I.U.U. [Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated] vessel.”

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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