Last week there was a situation at the Crooked Tree Haul Day as it is referred to. It is a day on which fishermen are given a license to fish in the area which is a natural reserve. But last week when fishermen went out to the lagoon, things got out of control, after it was found out that some fishermen did not have the proper license to fish in the area. This is due to, as some of the fishermen alleged; to the fact that they were told that they needed a special fishing license on a very short notice. Many of them could not access the license on time. Today we asked Fisheries Department Administrator Beverly Wade about the role the department played in the situation.
“If you are a person who wants to engage in fishing in the entire country of Belize your require a fisherman license. We do not license people specifically for the Crooked Tree area we have no jurisdiction over that area. My understanding is that that the forest department under its’ management authority grants people from Crooked Tree haul days. That has nothing to do with us, all the forest department has been telling them is that if you intend to now be involved with the haul day you should have a fisherman license. Any Belizean who wish to participate in commercial fishing activities should have a fisherman license, you need a license if you want to go out and fish commercially, it doesn’t matter where it is. We have nothing to do with Crooked Tree except to give any Belizean an opportunity for a fisherman license. We are there to provide any technical support they need and of course if fishermen need licenses the fisheries department is always there to assist and facilitate that process.”
Wade specified that as a protected reserve, Crooked Tree is under the Forestry department.