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Expanding Belize’s Oceanic Potential Effectively

This week, the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) is hosting three persons from the United Kingdom’s Commonwealth Marine Economies (CME) programme. They are in Belize to assist in the development of a Maritime Economy Plan for Belize. The Plan seeks to create jobs, drive economic growth, reduce poverty, and ensure sustainable food security for the people of Belize, through the usage of the marine sector in an effective way. Kassia De Santos, CME regional Manager, spoke about how Belize has benefited from CME before and more.

Kassia De Santos – Regional Manager, CME: “So the Maritime Economy Plan is what we are working on currently so we are doing consultations. It was discussed with Government, their interest in developing the plan and they were very much interested. Of Course, Belize is far advanced compared to other countries in the Caribbean with relation to developing their Maritime Economy, to protecting the coastal resources. What we are hoping the plan will do is bring together in one view all of the opportunities, the challenges and the gaps that exist within the sector. To address those, to create a plan that will give signpost in terms of what direction Government should be taking based on the feedback of the stakeholders in-country. We are keen that the plan is reflective of the country so everything that will be in the plan would be things that we gathered locally from the stakeholders that we have coordinated with, The Belize Coastal Zone Management Institute. The plan is not the only thing that Belize will benefit from, we have been doing work in the country for about three and a half years now with the UK Hydrographic Office, The Center for Environment Fisheries, Agriculture Science and the National Oceanographic Census. They have done bathymetric surveys, they have done work such as ocean acidification so the country will receive ocean acidification sensors to map the changes of land use and its impact on the waters so the country has been benefiting before from interventions by the UK Government in the sector.”

According to De Santos, the plan is being created because the country has not been maximizing its potential use of the oceanic space.///////