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May 26, 2022

Ministry of Blue Economy Meets with San Pedro Fishing Community

On Wednesday, the Ministry of the Blue Economy held a public meeting with fishermen in San Pedro Town to discuss the amendment to the fisheries regulation for a four point five ounce lobster tail weight. The meeting was held at the San Pedro Lion’s Den. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Minister of the Blue Economy Andre Perez along with C.E.O. Kennedy Carrillo, and the Fisheries Department met with a group of fishermen, who do not accept the proposed regulation. It was a heated discussion involving veteran fishermen sharing their experiences in the fishing industry.


San Pedro Fisherman

“We got we family. Twenty-one fools can’t judge over so much fisherman yah dah San Pedro. Unu di do lone fool mien. We need patrols, we noh need no more laws. We need people weh competent, weh love dehn Belizeans. We noh need no bunch ah fools weh love the white man.”


Philip 'Billy' Leslie

Philip ‘Billy’ Leslie, Former Fisherman

“Fishing is not going down because of the fisherman. Fishing is going down because we are not protecting the same thing that is needed to grow them – our mangroves.”


The fishermen expressed to the members of the head table that the amendment to increase the lobster tails for sustainable purposes is unnecessary as they have been fishing for decades, using the same practices, and lobsters are still in large numbers out at sea.


Alfredo Rubio

Alfredo Rubio, San Pedro Fisherman

“We do not accept this four point five ounces on the lobster tails this is something that we will never accept as a fisherman.”


Others shared that there was a lack of consultation, claiming that when the new law is enforce their livelihoods will be jeopardize. Activist Oscar Iboy is a tour guide by trade, but came out in support of the fishermen.


Oscar Iboy

Oscar Iboy, Activist, San Pedro Town

“They woulda neva had this issue if they would have consult with people with what the laws they are passing because you can’t just pass a law and done. For example, the one with the hook stick. That is something that’s been used – how the fishermen end up di acquire that tool to catch these lobsters because there is a skill to it. I have seen the anger in the people because they needed the consultation to weh di things weh dehn di pass through. They done the pass laws about the size and this thing and it will kill the fisherman livelihood.”


Despite the expression of discontent by the fishers, the Ministry of Blue Economy has been facing them, willing to provide alternatives and other ways to balance off the loss.  And at the end of the meeting, Minister Perez said the regulation will be deferred for a year and consultations will take place.


Andre Perez

Andre Perez, Minister of Blue Economy

“We did agree that maybe another year to delay, to defer it – not to amend, but defer. But we must implement sooner than later. By that I mean we cannot be sitting down to say if not now then when; we have to set a date. And I think that monitoring it closely, this year we have to defer and the next year that comes in we want to implement and working closely with the fisher-folks – not only here in San Pedro, Caye Caulker Sarteneja, but down south as well – closely monitoring that the lobster is going to be four and a half ounces and then see how the production.”


Some fishermen stated that they will continue to fight against the regulations. Duane Moody for News Five.


The ministry is asking each fishing community to identify three persons who will

form part of a community advisory group with whom they will be able to consult continuously. This will also provide the fishers to access the ministry about their concerns and suggestions.

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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