We have been reporting on the European Union’s position to blacklist Belize in High Seas Fishing. As we told, Belize along with Guinea and Cambodia are facing sanctions and were blacklisted by the European Union for illegal fishing in high seas. European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Maria Damanaki, said the fight against illegal fishing is being stepped up since the three countries are refusing to rein in the unlawful practice. Prime Minister Dean Barrow responded to the situation in yesterday’s press conference in Belize City.
PM – DEAN BARROW
“We will make every effort to put in place proper monitoring infrastructure and am repeating to you that we will very quickly pass the regulation what they are saying is, we pass the act and that is fine but there must be regulations under the act that will then create the monitoring infrastructure and then you must operationalize monitoring infrastructure, I am telling you that we will do that but I have said before and I will say again ultimately if we have to deregister the entire fishing fleet we will do that it is not a step we would like take because it is earning revenue to government but at the end of the day we will do whatever we have to get this thing in the kind of shape we want and to sort out the problem so let us also be clear that the possible consequences of the EU action, don’t extend to anything other than the fisheries product of the fishing fleet you know, doesn’t affect our shrimp, doesn’t affect anything else so while it is serious and we are taking it seriously and we will deal with it don’t let us carried away and believe that it is anymore consequential than it is.”
In a release issued yesterday by the government, it states that early next year, Government intends to ask the EU for a reassessment of Belize’s control mechanism for high seas fisheries and hope that Belize will soon be out of the list of ‘non-cooperating third countries’. The release ends saying Belize currently has a fleet of 128 fishing vessels, of which 20 fish in the Atlantic Ocean and discharge their fish at the European Union ports.
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