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Nov 22, 2012

European Union may ban Belize vessels for Illegal Fishing

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

There is trouble brewing for Belize in the international fisheries industry tonight, following decisive measures taken by the European Union (EU) against eight countries it shares trade relations with. The EU recently issued a release, warning fishing vessels flying the Belizean flag that if they fail to comply with standards set by the European Fisheries Control Agency, particularly with regards to illegal fishing, that the country will be banned from trading with member-countries of the union.  According to the release, available evidence confirms that Belize has not fulfilled its obligations under international law regarding effective enforcement measures.  Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Oceana’s Vice President for Belize says that the decision to give Belize a yellow card was taken last Thursday.


Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Vice President, Oceana In Belize

“All indications are that from March 2010 the European Union reached out to Belize because Belize is a country that has flags of convenience, meaning vessels that are not really Belizean but for a price they can fly a Belizean flag.  But their concern why there were reaching out was that a lot of the vessels that are being registered with Belizean flags are actually involved in a lot of illegal activities.  But they are more concerned with the illegal, unreported fishing activities that they are involved in because, as you know, the European Union, and worldwide, there is really a decrease in fish catch.  And one of the ways to try and solve that is to try and curb illegal activity.  So when they reached out to Belize since then there have been several procedures that have followed.  They have had missions that have come here, they’ve written reports to Belize, Belize has been given the opportunity to respond.  They put in place certain recommendations for Belize to carry out and Belize has not complied at all.  Therefore, they’ve reached the conclusion that okay there was a meeting, I think it was November fifteenth, and in that meeting basically they said well it’s time for us to give a warning.  It was eight countries, Belize being one of them and that warning basically means, like it’s a yellow card, so they said, we’re giving you six months in which to make effective change and if you don’t then Belize will be blacklisted.  And being blacklisted, what it means is that in the European Union not only will our name be a disreputable one, however, the fact that vessels with our flag will not be treated with the courtesies or usual general procedures that should be followed because obviously your country is a blacklisted country.  The countries will not want to trade with Belize.  They will start first by not trading with us in any fish product.  I don’t know that we have a lot of Belizean fish product to go to the European Union however, then it will extend to no trade at all.  And in terms of international significance, I don’t think Belize could afford a farther black eye.  We’ve see in the news lately all the bad reputation we have and I think on a whole it’s really unfair for the people of this country because Belizeans are really nice people, hardworking and we’ve been making a lot of sacrifices.”

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11 Responses for “European Union may ban Belize vessels for Illegal Fishing”

  1. Rod says:

    The world has seen and is looking at the total corrupt pm and gov. Of Belize and will not turn a blind eye anymore therefore every faucet of business is being targeted by foreign governments because of all the corruption and lies of this pm and gov. Wake up belizeans you are going off the cliff with this useless gov.

  2. Belizean says:

    Instead of putting your own country down, Ms Shepherd, try to encourage. I say your a traitor and a unpatriotic citizen. You sure dont have a heart for Belize..Lone bad talk about our country..Please shut up and mind your own business…

  3. Storm says:

    @Belizean, I disagree. You are attacking the messenger, like in old times people attacked [and killed] John the Baptist. But the truth is still there and Belizeans should know of it, because it is a bad thing for the nation and its reputation. They’re doing it in YOUR name, too, Belizean.

    Selling flags of convenience is similar to selling passports. You are putting the stamp of your nation’s approval on ships or individuals, and if you endorse criminals, then [1] you are aiding and abetting wrong conduct and [b] you are showing you will sell out your name and integrity for money. Is that attitude something to be proud of?

    Now, if you support criminality, and pariah behavior, then I stand corrected.

  4. Bear says:

    It would be interesting for some reporter to investigate who buys flags of convenience from Belize. Who is trying to hide who they are, and why are they hiding behind our flag?

  5. Belizean says:

    This lady has a history of looking at things negatively..ANTI DEVELOPMENT..Thats why everything she says doesnt have the right effect.. If someone else said it in a more responsible and respectable way, totally understandable..She is doing it in a way to get attention for herself..Yes, the issue is still there, but there was NO professionalism

  6. Barack Obama says:

    @Bear….If you go to you will find that Belize has one of the most well managed and regulated Shipping Registry. Most of the vessels flying Belize Flags were done for Belize’s good reputation and majority were done for legitimate means. You simply don’t understand the nature of the business, so it is best to educate yourself on the matter before condemning the actions based simply on what Mrs. Sheppard comments.

    You will find that Immarbe acts in a professional manner and enforce the necessary available laws. The owners of the vessels will normally be penalize for engaging in illegal acts, that is, if it is illegal.

  7. Bmp man says:

    I agree Storm and Rod

    Let all Belizeans stop fishing and start eating frogs and lizards instead!

    Sheppard wa cry for anything once she is being paid….

    We Belizeans have to eat and we could do it in a environmentally friendly way but white people stepping in again telling us what to do and how to do it is pissing me off!

  8. Romney looses big says:

    “Belizean flags are actually involved in a lot of illegal activities”

    Why else buy a Belizean ship registry?
    Mello and Hezbollah are not the only ones who figured out Belize is a criminal sanctuary.

    One stop shopping to get your criminal operations rested, organized and supplied; all with official stamps and documents.

    A place where anything goes, the citizens are into the action, or tolerate it.
    Just keep going after tourist weed smokers and homosexuals, they are the big problem of Belize.

  9. Truthbetold says:

    GOB in trouble with the EU, IDB, US Treasury to name a few. PM has the cheek to chastise the IDB. Get the message straight PM, you are a high risk, delinquent creditor who cannot be trusted. You lied to the IDB about changing laws which you knowingly never did and then still openly bragged about it afterwards.
    Belize has been warned about their shipping registry before, but persists in issuing registration to dubious operators much like selling passports to suspect persons, even to Hezbollah members.
    PM has nationalized two private companies and failed to pay a cent to the owners, even after the courts ruled against government, this is no different to theft. Great move to encourage investment and help give the IDB a warm feeling of trust in you.
    PM says Obama has done nothing for Belize and was expecting him to speak with the US Treasury to help out. How ungrateful, the US has donated millions and millions this past year alone through various programs and aid for this country. That is the thanks the US gets. Why does he owe you anyway PM?
    Why doesn’t the PM try to break the mold and attempt get the country motivated and create it’s own wealth without continuing to be a begging nation. We take donations from every conceivable source that offers money, just like a prostitute, all without shame or a conscience.
    Can anyone advise me if Belize has ever helped out any other country in need, or does that not count?
    Best thing Belize can do is go and beg Mexico, the US or the UK to take us over as we are incompetent to run a country ourselves. At least this way we will see the economy flourish and the corruption and crime quelled. We have no plan how to heal our current situation and don’t have the leadership to implement it anyway.

  10. impartial says:

    i think this lady doesnt know anything. there are several contries in the caribbean that register ships like that, i believe Bahamas and panama are the biggest. It is a very normal international practice and as a matter of fact most of the international shipping is performed under these flags. about fishing, now there are restrictions and you can only catch so much fish, so the european and chinese want all the fish for themselves so they discredit other countries so that they can take over their share of fish. The EU are greedy bullies that want all the fish, check the lists of illegal ships, some of them are european but none is belizean. Time to stand up for these greedy bullies!
    so dont bring Belize down lady lawyer that dont know nothing

  11. Storm says:

    That’s tough medicine to swallow, @truthbetold, but “know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

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