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Oct 5, 2022

The Findings of a Vulnerability & Livelihood Assessment for Fisheries Sector

Another round of consultation on climate change vulnerability and livelihood assessment of three key areas of Belize was held at the Biltmore today. Stakeholders from non-governmental organizations and government departments were engaged for a Green Climate Fund readiness project entitled, “Enhancing Adaptation Planning and Increasing Climate Resilience in the Coastal Zone and Fisheries Sector of Belize.”  And today, a report on the findings was presented where these stakeholders validated the information. Today’s event was hosted by the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Blue Economy, and in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Representative for Jamaica, the Bahamas and Belize, and Belize’s National Designated Authority of the G.C.F. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Over a hundred stakeholders were engaged in a study to determine how coastal fishing communities, namely Belize City, Dangriga and San Pedro Town, have been affected by climate change. The scope of the data was over a thirty-year period, from 1991 to 2020. Today’s event is the fifth in a series of consultations to enhance adaptation for vulnerable communities and vulnerabilities within coastal zone and fisheries. The aim is essentially to make the country resilient to climate change.

 

Maxine Monsanto, Director of Blue Economy

Maxine Monsanto

“Today the findings are going to be presented and validated by the stakeholders. It is important because it helps to build resilience for the key sectors of the fisheries sector as well as within the coastal zone within communities which are priority areas. They are heavily impacted by the impacts of climate change – whether it is sea level rise, erosion changes in temperature, intense hurricane. The findings will be used to build long term readiness projects to ensure the viability and the longevity of the fisheries sector.”

 

Duane Moody

“So influencing policy basically?”

Maxine Monsanto

“Yes.”

 

The process began earlier this year and international consultant, Doctor Asha Singh says that even though some of that data is unavailable, the impact of climate change can be seen and felt across these three communities.

 

Dr. Asha Singh, International Consultant, FAO

Dr. Asha Singh

“Overwhelmingly yes, climate change is affecting Belize; climate change is affecting Belize City; climate change is affecting Dangriga Town. I cannot say much about San Pedro because the data that I would require for rainfall, etc., there isn’t a data station, but if we can speculate based on the information for these two cities, yes San Pedro is being affected by climate change. So that’s one of the major foundations to this study. We are being affected. One of the things that we looked at is the exposure – how much we are exposed to the impacts that I have just mentioned, what is the sensitivity, how sensitive are we and how are we adapting. And in all aspects, I can say that these are very high for these communities.”

 

The study showed that Belize City is most adversely affected by climate change. Rising sea level, floods, erosion, and warmer temperatures were among the twenty-seven indicators that were identified and used in the study. So how has the fisheries sector been affected?

 

Dr. Asha Singh

“The fisheries sector is very vulnerable because it occupies a set of stakeholders, or I would say it employs a set of Belizeans that really rely on those resources, who pretty much don’t have much more of an occupation but know fisheries for thirty-odd years or even more. And when you have issues like climate change that start having, where the fish moves further away because the water is warming. And when you put that to a fisherman who just has a canoe to go out there to fish, it really comes down to livelihood and his ability to feed his family. So it becomes very critical when we look at these sectors.”

Blue Economy Director Maxine Monsanto says that the study is one of two that is ongoing and the report will be made available for everyone so that future planning can take into consideration climate change adaptation when making investments.

 

Maxine Monsanto

“There are multiple portions to the readiness project. So vulnerability and livelihood assessment is one. Another one is stakeholder engagement; an assessment has been already completed for that and the development of a stakeholder engagement committee is being finalised.  A next one is gender evaluation and assessment. These are all ongoing activities. The last one is assessment of the value added chain within the fisheries sector.”

Duane Moody for News Five.


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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