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Workshop targeting fishermen held

A training workshop aimed at helping fishermen was held on Saturday at the ITVET building in Belize City. The workshop is part of a project funded by the Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation Programme, COMPACT.  Nigel Martinez, Director of Belize Federation of Fishers told us more.

Nigel Martinez – Director, Federation of Fishers

“We have stated categorically that we support the implementation of managed access and doing our part we want to ensure that our members who are here represented countrywide have the necessary training so that they know exactly what the data is being collected and to be used for , the purpose of that data, the use of that data, so that at the end of the day the managed access program can work if not smoothly but in a manner that will be beneficial for us and our members. Besides getting the necessary training, that is required by the managed access program, because as I have indicated the information learned here today will impact their renewal of their managed access so it’s very prudent that they get all the information and it’s also beneficial to them and their community and their association that they go back and distribute the information. We’re hoping today that they will also voice some of their concerns, some other issues that are being faced within the different associations and within the different areas so that we can get an understanding as to how the managed access program is really working on the ground.”

According to Martinez, one of the challenges that fishermen are having is the issuance of licenses.

Nigel Martinez – Director, Federation of Fishers

“The managed access group was set up and away that the group would have been responsible for recommendation and approval of license granted to different individuals and currently that is not the case and that’s somethingt the fisheries officer is explaining to the members moving forward how that situation is going to be addressed. Another issue that came up is that we have people who have manage access licenses that are not from this specific areas and they are foreigners who have manage access licenses and these are some of the issues and concerns that our members are bringing to the forefront. Remember first our country had an open access that anyone could’ve went in and got a license to fish now that is not the case, that is the reason why we moved towards manage access, that you either had to be working in a specific area for a specific period of time or someone who passed, you would be able to get in and have access to the license but the range, the age for you to be qualified will be 18 years of age.”

The Belize Federation of Fishers is comprised of more than four hundred members.