Today the Fisheries Department received $81,335 of donated communications equipment for use along with other partners involved in communications and enforcement activities in marine protected areas. The Oak Foundation sourced the donation through Tenchtronics Communications in Belize City which also held training today in Belize City for how to use the equipment. It is part of planned capacity building and support for the National Protected Areas Systems Plan soon to be implemented by Government and its environmental partners. Receiving the donation was Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development, Senator Lisel Alamilla. She told us why enforcement is not as difficult as some may find it.
Minister Lisell Alamilla:
I won’t say it’s an impossibility. It really is a matter that we have identified as a priority, and so we are today getting help from Wild Aid in developine an enforcement plan for the entire country of Belize. Initially the idea was to only develop it for Turneff Atoll, but we’re expanding that at a national; level.
The Oak Foundation’s Angeline Valentine explained the importance of communication on the sea.
Angeline Valentine – Oak Foundation:
Communication is very important to enforcement. Rapid communication in many instances is a must, if you want to effectively enforce. Also, as the Minister rightly mentioned, when you look at the scope of the area that these Protested Areas Managers have to work within, safety also becomes an issue. In addition to the component of enforcement, it also works to safety measures as well.
The handover and training took place at the Fisheries Department Office compound in Belize City.