Last Friday, November 6th, the Government of Belize passed legislation prohibiting the possession and use of gill nets in Belizean waters. The decision will safeguard the livelihoods of the tens of thousands of Belizeans who depend on the health of the Caribbean Sea via fishing and tourism, especially the fly fishing guides, lodges, and outfitters. This is wonderful news for anyone who loves flats fishing as Belize boasts the largest living reef with endless flats where many species like tarpon, permit, and bonefish thrive.
While the big concern of banning the gill nets in Belize would be ruining the livelihood of the gill net fishermen. But the coalition does state how it will provide the former gill net fishermen with “financial and other resources which will help them to adopt alternative fishing practices.”
From the Joint Press Release from the Government of Belize Press Office:
“Belmopan, (6th November 2020). In a demonstration of commitment to maintain a vibrant and sustainable fishery sector, Dr. Hon. Omar Figueroa, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, has signed into law Statutory Instrument No. 158 of 2020 titled Fisheries Resources (Gill net prohibition) Regulations, 2020, banning the use and possession of gill nets in the marine waters of Belize. The area covered by the ban includes all the sea under the jurisdiction of Belize.”
Check out the full press release Banning Gill Nets from Marine Waters in Belize here.