Ten, twenty years ago, many fisher folk who used gill nets noticed that their catch was dwindling, realized that that method of fishing was unsustainable, and destructive, and on their own, without any prodding or legislation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, they gave up their nets.
“Ban gill nets!” was the cry from the Coalition for Sustainable Fisheries as they presented the latest data on the minority of Belizean fishermen using gill nets, and the depredation resulting from illegal users of gill nets – most of who come from across the border. The Coalition presented their findings at a press conference at the Radisson Fort George Hotel on Wednesday morning, May 22.
An investigation into Guatemala’s thriving shark fishing industry revealed serious concerns for Belize’s fishery and its fishermen. In February 2019, a team of investigative journalists from The Reporter traveled to Livingston, Guatemala to evaluate the scope of illegal fishing for sharks, fish and other marine products in Belizean waters by Guatemalan fishermen. Their findings were alarming.
Full article here: https://www.reporter.bz/2019/04/06/13477/ .
In recent weeks, when we hear the word “gillnet,” we tend to associate it with our fishermen, sustainable fishing and the Belize Fisheries Department. But exactly: what is gillnetting and why are we having a debate about it? Love News traveled to Placencia where we spoke with Grayson Sierra, a Members of the Placencia Sports Fishing Association and a tour guide who provided an explanation.
Read the full article here: http://lovefm.com/negative-impacts-gillnets-belize/
Channel 5 News interviews commercial fisherman to get their perspective on the use of gill nets and the potential ban.
Recently several NGOs and the Belize Federation of Fishers (BFF) proposed that the government phase out and ban the use of gill nets in Belizean waters. While the proposed phase-out ban has been opposed by the Fisheries Department and the Belize Fisherman’s Cooperative Association (BFCA), BFF continues to lobby for a phase-out ban.
In speaking with the BFF about its support for the ban, Nigel Martinez, Director of the BFF stated that he realizes that fishermen who agree to put down their gillnets must be given opportunities for other livelihoods. To this end, the BFF has been working on possible alternatives for gillnet fishers who agree to consider more sustainable forms of fishing.
Read the full article here: https://www.reporter.bz/2019/02/15/will-fishers-agree-to-a-gill-net-ban/
Just after four o’clock yesterday evening, fisheries officials were called out to an area behind Wesley College where they found a seventy-five-foot gillnet set in the waters along the coast of the Yarborough area. Not only is it illegal to use gillnets within the city but the size of the mesh exceeded the approved three and a half inches. Love News was at the area when the net was being removed. We were unable to get an official statement from the Fisheries Department but we did speak with the Communications Officer for Oceana, Alyssa Carnegie.
View here: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Gill+net+removed+from+the+coast+near+Yarborough
This is a video recording of a gill netter setting and checking a gill net near Belize City, Channel 5 News.
Investor, philanthropist, and founder of the Virgin Group Richard Branson has stated that more needs to be done to protect the ocean and its marine life.
In a recent trip to Belize, in Central America, the tycoon met with the nation’s prime minister Dean Barrow to discuss strategies for ocean protection, according to a blog post by Branson.
Read the article here: https://www.livekindly.co/richard-branson-sea-life-gillnet-fishing-horrendous/
Sustainable Fisheries Coalition calls out GOB and the Gill Net Task Force for inaction to reduce the harm of gill nets in Belize.
Nine months after announcement, Gillnet Task Force is dead in the water - Fishers and fisher associations, private sector groups and NGOs warn political intransigence is compromising thousands of Belizean jobs, a 100-million-dollar industry and undermining sustainability.
Read the article here: https://www.ambergristoday.com/news/2018/11/15/belize-struggling-battle-against-gillnet-fishing.
The Belize Coalition for Sustainable Fishery is the umbrella organization for the Turneffe Atoll Trust, Oceana Belize, the Belize Federation of Fishers, the Belize Game Fish Association, the National Sports Fishing Association, and the Mar Alliance. All these fishing-related organizations have organized to lobby the government of Belize to outlaw one very specific fishing gear, which is gill nets. Love News went to a marine reserve with representatives of the coalition to make a case against gill net use.
View video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=346219142849697
The Belize Coalition for Sustainable Fishery is the umbrella organization for the Turneffe Atoll Trust, Oceana Belize, the Belize Federation of Fishers, the Belize Game Fish Association, the National Sports Fishing Association and the Mar Alliance. All these fishing-related organizations have organized to lobby the government of Belize to outlaw one very specific fishing gear, which is gill nets. Love News went to a marine reserve with representatives of the coalition to make a case against gill net use.
Read article here: http://lovefm.com/fisher-organizations-say-time-ban-gill-net-use/
In Belize, there are many who make their livelihood by fishing, but with everything there are restrictions and policies to ensure sustainability and proper usage. Fishermen who are still in the habit of using gill-net is one of those instances where best practices and sustainability are not being taken into consideration. The Belize Coalition for a Sustainable Fishery has been trying to ban gill-net since it does not promote sustainable fishing. The Belize Coalition for a Sustainable Fishery is made up of the Turneffe Atoll Trust, Oceans Belize, the Belize Federation of Fishers, Mar Alliance, the National Belize Sportfishing Association and the Belize Game Fish Association.
Read the article: http://lovefm.com/belize-coalition-hopes-find-alternative-gill-net/
The call to Ban Gillnets in Belize has continuously built momentum.
This is a recorded segment from Channel 5 News in Belize. Mike Huesner who owns Belize River Lodge and is part of the Environmental Community. Andrew Roe from the Belize Game Fish Association and who sits on the Gill Net task force. They discuss gill nets and their use within Belize.
On February 15th, it was announced that a Task Force was being assembled to, quote, “reduce Harmful Effects of Gill Nets on Marine Life.”
Well, almost 6 months later, the members appointed to that body will convene for their first session tomorrow afternoon in Belmopan. Members of the Task Force include commercial fishers, sport fishers, the Belize Coast Guard marine protected area co-managers as well as officials from the Department of Fisheries and PACT.
Groups such as Oceana and enforcement agencies like the Coast Guard have maintained that a phase out of the nets would support Belize’s efforts at sustainable fisheries management.
But, there’s a wrinkle. It appears that an important voice is actually in favor of keeping gillnets legal. According to a position paper prepared by the Belize Fisheries Department gillnets should stay. They say gillnets are easy to use and cost effective, bycatch is a problem with all fishing gear, and that gillnets have been here for a long time. Notably, a poll shows that only 169 of the 2,716 commercially licensed fishers use gillnets.
To see the actual article please click on the header.
News, via a press release, that a taskforce has been set up to “Develop Improved Measures to Reduce Harmful Effects of Gill Nets on Marine Life,” is welcome, though there is the temptation to ask, “What took you so long?” A lot of “lovers of marine life” across this country have been asking for gill nets to be banned from our waters for a long time now.
Read the full op-ed: http://amandala.com.bz/news/20-years-late/
Oceana Social Media Project Portrays Indiscriminate Nature of Gillnets - As part of ongoing advocacy efforts to promote the use of sustainable fishing gear in Belize’s marine environment, Oceana launched a social media component in the ARE WE DROWNING OUR FUTURE? | #stopthenets campaign. The photographs feature Belizean social media personalities and are designed to highlight the indiscriminate nature of gillnetting at sea.