Belize Inaugurates New Managed Access Program to Prevent and End Overfishing

On July 1, the Government of Belize inaugurated a managed access program for its marine reserves in order to prevent and end overfishing of important commercial species that are key to Belize’s marine environment and coastal economy.  This Managed Access system is a major win for the conservation of Belize’s magnificent barrier reef as well as for the livelihoods of fishermen and Belize’s food security.

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Hon. Rene Montero inaugurated Belize’s managed access program to an audience of 60 fishermen, conservation NGOs, and government agencies.

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Hon. Rene Montero, inaugurated Belize’s managed access program to an audience of 60 fishermen, conservation NGOs, and government agencies.

Managed Access is a major shift in the paradigm from open access fisheries to a limited access area-based system.  EDF has worked with a network of Belizean partners for over three years to achieve this milestone. Belize’s Fisheries Administrator, Beverly Wade, summed up perfectly the significance of this new program, “[The Managed Access program] is not only to allow traditional fishers to have greater participation in the management of the resources, but to also allow them to derive greater benefits from those resources.” 

The Managed Access program is already underway with 100 percent commercial catch monitoring being phased-in at the two pilot sites – Port Honduras and Glover’s Reef Marine Reserves.  This week begins a three week process of allocating the area-based licenses.  For nearly six months now, committees of fishermen and other stakeholders in the fishing communities have been working to design and implement this licensing system.  They are now seeing their efforts rewarded.

Anna Martinez who has been fishing in Port Honduras since she was seven years old said, “I love the idea because for many years we take a hard packing with people from outside. We take care of our product and somebody just come and take it, and so we feel if the government will help, we need for them to push and we will support.”

EDF’s team and partners in Belize are committed to working to ensure the system in Port Honduras and Glover’s Reef now works effectively.  We will continue to support the Government of Belize as it expands managed access to its entire network of marine reserves.

This entry was posted in Belize and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.