We have reported on instances where fishermen have been caught with illegal quantities of seafood products out of season and other instances of illegal fishing. Beginning on Wednesday in the Caribbean island of Grenada, authorities from the region are meeting to review techniques in terms of prosecution of offenses. We get more from Beverly Wade, Administrator at the Fisheries Department.
“It’s actually looking at improving prosecution. We have two inspectors from Belize which is Mr. Rudbin and Rodney from the South and he’s joined us at Cavern Hall Station in Belize City”.
The conference is being hosted by the Caribbean Regional Fishing Mechanism (CRFM) which in a press release said it is working in collaboration with the ACP Fish II Programme, funded by the EU, and the consulting firm – AGRER Grupo Typsa of Brussels, Belgium, to host the regional validation workshop as part of an initiative to provide technical support to produce new prosecution and enforcement manuals for CARIFORUM States. After opening ceremonies the workshop will center on finalizing two enforcement manuals which address the use of new technology in fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance while expanding on manuals already in use in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Ms. Wade ties in the tactics being taught to the two officers with changes to local legislation including the Marine Aquatic (Fisheries) Bill.
Ms. Beverly Wade
“Well, we are hopeful that the Fisheries Bill will be passed soon , and as you recall, we are actually just finishing up the revision of the Subsidiary Regulation to support that Bill. So, we are hoping that very soon we’ll have new improved regulatory framework for Fisheries Management in Belize that would then allow us to be more efficient with enforcement. This particular meeting that we are talking about is looking particularly on the prosecution aspects of things, so we are hoping that our two inspectors on their return to Belize, will come back with more insight, more knowledge and understanding of some of the procedures that will help them to be more effective and have better rates of convictions at the end of the day”.
At the workshop, drafts of the Prosecution and Enforcement Manuals will be presented to regional fisheries experts and enforcement personnel for refinement, and final drafts should be ready for adoption within two weeks. The manuals will furthermore be translated into Spanish, French and Dutch, for wide circulation across CARIFORUM States. The Grenada workshop will also provide a forum for participants to map out their logistical, resource and training needs, to ensure that they will be better equipped to curb IUU fishing. It is the last pending project being undertaken by the ACP Fish II Programme titled “Strengthening Fisheries Management in ACP Countries,” which began in 2009 and concludes next month.