Speaking on the adjournment was Albert Area Representative Tracey Taegar Panton. Panton spoke on Statutory Instrument fifty-seven of 2021. The SI now allows for the participation of permanent residents in the fishing industry of Belize. Panton expressed concerns related to the possible overfishing and depletion of fish stocks.
Tracy Panton, Area Representative, Albert Division: “The appeal, member from Belize Rural South, is for certainly greater surveillance, greater enforcement be done in terms of who is fishing our Belizean waters. They have described to me that some key species are already endangered I think the Nassau Grouper for example was pointed out and so that’s my appeal on their behalf the Minister Responsible for the Blue Economy that if we can have greater surveillance to ensure that as we issue more fishing license to those who may be entitled to them that there is also greater enforcement to ensure that we can try and stem some of the illegal fishing in our Belizean waters.”
Andre Perez, Minister of the Blue Economy and Civil Aviation: “With this SI we are just fixing things, we are making things right. For the record at the Fisheries Department the last time there were only registered fisherfolk who had permanent residency so with that we’re just bringing in back and on my consultations that I was travelling around this country I visited the member from Corozal South which is the Honorable Florencio Marin, I visited Sarteneja, I went down south all the way down to Hunting Caye Dangriga and that is part of consultation. Now if you’re saying that we did not consult our people of Belize district, taken. But for forty fisherfolk we can’t be engaging every time for consultation but I’ll tell you this also I acknowledge that there must be greater patrolling but I have to go back again to history and the facts that when we entered government and we formed the new ministry the Fisheries Department was in a deplorable condition. We need to fix that and in less than eight months the Blue Economy we have secured funding by making presentations, projects, proposals and you can bet your life savers that very soon we’re getting out more boats, more patrolling and we’re cleaning house also because we do have some very much rogue out there fisheries officers entertained by the different local businesses that want to buy stuff illegally. So to answer your concerns indeed patrolling and enforcement is key especially in the waters off the Belize district not only for illegal fishing but also for sea piracy which is also something you must recognize as well which is a creation of high unemployment part of that done by a rampant terrible administration that was without any kind of governance.”