Oceana continues to promote the protection of Belize’s marine resources
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in 2010, Belize became one of the first countries in the world to institute a complete and permanent ban on trawling in all its waters.
Since 2009, Oceana has promoted the importance of protecting Belize’s natural resources, encouraging healthy fisheries and highlighting the impact of destructive fishing gear in Belize. Our long-term vision for the Belize Barrier Reef is a thriving ecosystem, capable of producing abundant, healthy marine resources that support a vibrant and sustainable local economy for Belizeans.
In December 2010, the Belizean government announced a ban on all forms of trawling in the country’s waters including its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) when Fisheries Minister, Rene Montero, signed the Statutory Instrument effecting the legislation.
The call to ban bottom trawling had been made some years prior to the legislation being passed but lacked the political will, as the government was faced with the reality of what to do with the existing trawlers owned and operated by the Northern Fishermen Cooperative Association (NFC). Oceana in Belize played a crucial role in the decision, collaborating with Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s administration to negotiate the buy-out of the two shrimp trawlers.
Trawls are one of the most destructive forms of fishing gear in the world. Shrimp trawls are notorious for the amount of bycatch, or untargeted catch, they haul in. Thousands of sea turtles, marine mammals and untargeted fish are caught in shrimp trawlers around the world every year. Meanwhile, bottom trawlers’ weighted nets effectively clear-cut the ocean floor with every pass, destroying sensitive corals and anything else in their way.
With this ban, which went into effect December 31st, 2010, Belize became one of the first countries in the world to institute a complete and permanent ban on trawling in all its waters.