Senator Representing the Trade Unions, Osmany Salas, said that the Belize Network of Non-Governmental Organizations (BNN) applauds the Government of Belize for not renewing fishing licenses for Guatemalans; however, it should be a preliminary move in a greater plan to protect Belize’s fisheries industry.
Salas told Breaking Belize News (BBN) that the fisheries industry is facing far more threats such as illegal fishermen from Honduras, which requires a lot more decisive action in order to protect the industry.
“What they need to do is expand the patrols and make them ’round the clock,” Salas said. “The patrols can’t be an 8-5 thing because most of the illegal fishing happens at night.”
Salas said that the Coast Guard and other relevant authorities need more resources so they can support the NGO’s that are co-managing the areas
According to BNN, over 15,000 Belizeans have commercial-related fishing jobs, 2,700 commercial fishing jobs, and an additional 2,100 sport fishing tourism jobs, which are all depending on the fishing industry’s viability. The BNN conducted an investigation recently which suggests that between 100,000 to 200,000 pounds of all types of fish, even those that are protected species, are being exported to Guatemala.
The BNN calls on GOB to take the remaining steps necessary to protect the industry as soon as possible.