For the very first time in Belize, the Fisheries Department is making women the focus when it comes to discussing fisheries and their involvement in the industry. Sandra Grant is the Project Manager for the Belize Conservation and Climate Adaptation Project in the Fisheries Department. Grant says that their aim is to highlight the roles of women in the sector.
“We’re having a meeting with women to talk about their roles in the sector and what we want to do is highlight some of those roles. So we have few women who are fisher ladies, we have women who scale fish; we have women who are part of management and administration with NGOs and the fisheries department. We have women who are vendors who are invited to be here with us today so we want to look at what they are doing, look at some of their issues and concerns and from that they develop an action plan from which we all can benefit from to include women in fisheries management and development. We know we have about forty seven women registered with the fisheries department involved in fishing in some way. Most of them are coming from Toledo, Belize City and from Stann Creek area. We are not sure if the women do not want to register but they are participating in fishing but we are going to pull that up to the front and see how we can get more women registering as part of this system. As I said before it is investigative. We are not sure what we are going to find today but we are hoping that at the end of the day the information that we receive is going to be valuable for us to develop our action plan.”
Fisheries Administrator, Beverly Wade told Love News that via this forum they are hoping to find the gaps in getting women more involved so that they may find new ways to encourage women involvement in fisheries.
“Well that’s just it and that’s what the forum is trying to now look at for us to understand that those things are so that we could then apply the appropriate strategies whether it is to empower them through opportunities to say ok maybe there is a need for us to provide inputs to women who want to actively participate whether it’s through catching a fish , whether it’s in the processing value added part of it or is it something that they need more organizations within themselves so we would have to have strategies which move towards that. Is it for us to understand what they feel comfortable with and to see how we could use their comfort zone to help us in ensuring sustainable fisheries management in Belize.”
The session was held this morning at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel with the participation from various organizations including TIDE, OCEANA and local fishers.