Settlement Reached in Undersized Conch Case with Seafood Exporter
The Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation and Rainforest Seafoods Limited have reached a settlement in the matter of the seafood exporter being found with undersized conch. On June 29, Fisheries Department officers conducted an expectation at the Rainforest storage facility in Big Creek, Independence Village, where they found a total of twenty-two thousand, eight hundred twenty-seven pieces of conch. This was just under three thousand, nine hundred pounds. The settlement is for just over seven hundred and sixty thousand dollars. Rigoberto Quintana, Acting Fisheries Administrator of the Fisheries Department met with the media today to explain how the settlement was decided upon.
But the original assessment for the value of the undersized conch was in the realm of one point one million dollars, which means that the multi-million-dollar Jamaican company, is getting a huge discount on what they should be paying. Quintana said that despite this, the settlement is a win for the Government of Belize.
He added that the Fisheries Department will be distributing the seized conch instead of destroying it. The Department will be discussing with partners in August as to which feeding programs will be receiving the conch. Meanwhile, the Fisheries Department says that it will be making a recommendation to Cabinet on a course of action in regard to Rainforest’s license to export conch. Quintana said that a meeting will be held in August, to finalize the recommendations which will either be to suspend or take away the license to export conch. The company continues to export lobster under its current license.