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Belize Bans Bottom Trawling

BELIZE - All forms of trawling in Belize have been banned in the countrys waters including its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Fisheries Minister Rene Montero signed the Statutory Instrument effecting this legislative change yesterday (9 December).

The ban, effective December 31, 2010, is a historic decision by Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s administration, which has been making these environmentally friendly decisions on the heel of the threat from UNESCO that it would strip the Belize Barrier Reef System of its World Heritage Site status.

The call to ban bottom trawling had been made some years ago but lacked the political will, as the government was faced with the reality of what to do with the existing trawlers owned and operated by the Northern Fishermen Cooperative Association (NFC).

Belize has become the one of the first countries in the world to institute a complete and permanent ban on trawling in all its waters. Indonesia had enacted a ban some 30 years ago, but opened up selected areas for trawling in 2009 despite the problems of overfishing.

Vice President for Oceana in Belize, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, says that this is a historic milestone in the life of Belizean fishermen and the environmental community because “it is indicative of the partnership that could be forged for the betterment of the people and country of Belize. We thank the government for its bold decision and look forward to being able to work with any administration on marine issues for the development of Belize”.

the Fish Site Editor

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