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Jun 7, 2022

Six Fishermen Hauled Before the Magistrate’s Court for Illegal Produce

This afternoon here in Belize City, six fishermen appeared before the Magistrate’s Court to answer to charges brought by the Fisheries Department for various infractions committed at sea over the weekend. On Sunday, the men were busted during separate operations conducted by fisheries enforcement officers in the areas of Lighthouse Reef and Glovers Reef atolls.  The men were found in possession of a number of illegally harvested products, including fish and conch. They were all collectively facing six-figure fines, approximately one hundred and thirty thousand dollars, for the violations they committed.  On Monday, Chief Executive Officer Kennedy Carillo, of the Ministry of the Blue Economy, told us that the recurring issue of illegal fisheries is being dealt with seriously because of the severity of this activity.


Kennedy Carillo

Kennedy Carillo, C.E.O., Ministry of Blue Economy

“The Ministry of the Blue Economy takes this particular bust very seriously because it does demonstrate to us that we have a very grave situation in terms of people continuing to engage in illegal fishing.  The responsibility of the Ministry of Blue Economy, through its Fisheries Department, is to ensure that we have sustainable fisheries and as much as our responsibility is to enforce, our responsibility is also to educate.  We know that many of the persons that are engaging in this are very well aware that the activity is illegal and that is why the go out at 10:30 at night because they are under the assumption that they are doing it at a time when there are no enforcement officers.  But we want people to know that we are taking our responsibility very seriously and that our enforcement officers are there with greater presence than ever before. We‘re also working with our officers out at the different marine protected areas, in this case, for example, out at Lighthouse Reef. Working in coordination with the coast guard, it is a massive effort to be able to cut down on this illegal activity.  We recognize as a ministry, that we‘re not only an environmental ministry but we are an economy ministry and our responsibility is to be able to move the economy of this country through the use of the responsible and sustainable use of our resources.  We also have a responsibility to ensure that we have the enforcement that is necessary out there because if we do not have the enforcement, if we do not have the number of convictions that we need to have then really the activities will continue.”

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