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Dec 8, 2009

DOE hasn’t been consulted about Jamaican fishing company

Story PictureOn Monday night we reported that the vessels of a Jamaican Fishing company had docked in southern Belize to, among other things, begin fishing for the export market. That company, which goes by the name of PG Fishing Company Limited, is here through a joint agreement with a local fishing group, the Rio Grande Cooperative. But the Fisheries Department has put the brakes on their plan and did not grant them a permit to conduct deep sea fishing. PG Fishing says it wants to catch fish stock not usually sought by local fishermen. Fisheries Administrator, Beverly Wade, told News Five on Monday that there needs to be adequate consultation among the relevant agencies before any type of permit is granted. Wade said there has to be proper monitoring of the operations, and no permit will be granted until this is in place. The arrival of the Jamaican company over the weekend sent the community up in arms due to concerns of overfishing. Today we spoke via phone with Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria, who said his office has not yet received any proposal from the company for fishing activity in Belize. Alegria says there have been fishing operations done before in Belize, but only after the required consultation. This is no different venture, Alegria says, as his department will play its role because it would be involving an environmentally sensitive area.

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer
“Even when we do environmental screening process we usually have lead agencies that are responsible for the particular type of project. For example, in this case it’s a Fisheries management issue, so in reviewing environmentally, Fisheries Department would be one of the key agencies to spearhead assessments and recommendations for these types of projects. And then depending on the activities of the fisheries type project, they might be talking about utilizing the Barrier Reef and that’s where then other agencies come in, including mine, to analyze those types of projects. But the lead agency is Fisheries Department. If it is involving something related to the coral reef of Belize then we would get involved.”

Marion Ali
“To what extent though?”

Martin Alegria
“For example you are talking about – in assisting Fisheries Department in this case to assess the project, we from an environmental perspective, they from the sustainable maximum yield type of perspective of fisheries management.”


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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