Oceana Belize has been a prominent organization in regards to sustainable living and being ecofriendly. Their mandate is to protect one of Belize’s biggest resources: the Caribbean Sea. They’ve advocated for things like banning gillnets and single use plastics. This past Saturday, they held their annual general meeting, at which they discussed the projects they are currently working on and the goal they are working towards.
Janelle Chanona, Vice President Oceana Belize: “On our campaign front we’re still pushing hard to get gillnets banned. We want to stop these nets because they are destructive, they’re leading to over fishing and primarily they’re being used by people who are not even licensed and by a fair chunk of people who are not even Belizean. Right now the ball is in government’s court and we’re waiting to hear how they decide because that gear is not only hurting commercial fishing activity, it’s also hurting tourism. People aren’t coming here to eat box fish from Vietnam they’re coming to eat a nice snapper of it they’re really lucky Mahi Mahi or something that came out of our waters. But if we do not manage our fisheries sustainably we will not be able to offer people fresh fish that we just caught. We’re also working hard as you know on supporting the government on it’s own announcement to ban single use plastic and Styrofoam in our food sector. One of the things that Oceana is working on and we’re doing this through the Communications and Public Working Group as well as the Technical Committee but we’re also making sure that bioplastic is not going to be included as an alternative for single use plastic. Anybody that studies science- but the point is no matter what you make plastic from plastic is plastic is plastic. The other thing we’re working on, you may have seen we gave some support to the Coast Guard, a new boat, that’s to make sure that they can help us enforce the laws that are out there because that’s the other problem there are a lot of people coming into our waters taking out resource and we don’t want that to be. So we want to help to beef up enforcement capabilities and I hope that at the next meeting one of the things that we’ll be able to share with you then is policy makers moving towards making sure that everybody that is in our waters is visible so that when we can see them we know what they’re doing, we know where they are and we know why they’re there.”
The AGM was held at the St Catherine’s Academy auditorium, and was a plastic free event.