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May 19, 2022

Consultation on Fisheries Amendment Yields Compromises

Minister of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, Andre Perez has been meeting with fishing communities across the country to hear their concerns on the new Fisheries Act amendment which seeks to increase the size of lobster catch permitted to four point five ounces. From the first few consultations held, several decisions have been taken. The time allotted for fishermen to set traps has been extended from ten to fifteen days. The proposal to adjust the gap on the lobster trap is now shelved until next year. Additionally, the time span for the lobster season has been amended. But, there is still some work to do, because as it appears, fisher folks are still not pleased with the increase in the permitted catch size. Minister Perez was a guest on Open Your Eyes this morning where he explained the need for the amendments.


Andre Perez

Andre Perez, Minister of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation

“First of all it is not a new regulation. That is the first thing. That has been in place since 2019 and signed by the previous administration. But, it is not about whether or not it was signed before from a different administration. Once it was vetted through the Fisheries Department, we look at it then it is a good regulation. It is being studied and we have to also let the people know that this is binding, that we have to be harmonized with the region, not only Central America, but the Caribbean because we are a member of OSPESCA from SICA, with Dominican Republic and of course we are a part of the CRFM, the Caribbean Regional Fishing Mechanism. So, we need to be harmonized. These are binding and for so many years it has been, let’s put it over. Let’s wait another year, another year, and also lacking political will as well. Who wants to take the bull by the horn? It must be done. And that is what yours truly is doing, facing the backlash. And, we are clearing it. We had a very fruitful meeting in Caye Caulkers. It was very robust. Our people there, and I know my people there are very passionate about what they do. But, in the end the spirit of compromise was able to come out. Sometimes we cannot agree, we agree to disagree. I can make changes as minister. I am able to make some amendments in terms of the time they will set in the lobster traps. There is a date when you can set those traps in the water, July first that the season opens, and it calls for ten days. But, they justified and gave us information. They are the ones on the ground, the experts, how it works. We recognized that and we respect that. We were able to make that amendment to say okay; instead of ten let’s do fifteen days. In terms of the escape gaps where certain lobsters can get out, we were proposing to make it bigger and it caused a stir. We were willing to look at that and say let us put it on hold. Let us see what happening in the next year.  But certainly the amount that is most important is the weight. The four and a half ounces, that stands.”

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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