Friday, July 12, 2024

Belize’s vessel monitoring system is now live; fishing vessels can now be monitored in real-time


In June 2021, the Belize High Seas Fisheries Unit (BHSFU), Oceana, and Global Fishing Watch signed a memorandum of understanding to make vessel tracking data public, demonstrating Belize’s commitment to greater transparency in fishing activities at sea. On Monday, March 28th, it was announced that the platform showing this tracking data is now operating through a live map at The BHSFU can now monitor activities Belize’s fishing vessels are engaged in, in real-time. This system also allows interaction with them and can take any necessary action on Belizean fishing vessels or those flagged to Belize.

The project was implemented to deter illegal fishing and monitor flagged vessels on the high seas. According to Deputy Director for BHSFU, Robert Robinson, they can now see vessels from other countries and know what they are doing in relation to Belize boats. “It allows us to bridge the gap and keep a closer eye on the activities of our vessels and be able to combat any type of illegal activities,” said Robinson. He explained that if there is a vessel of interest, their business halts, and they cannot operate. If a particular vessel does not comply with a request by members of the BHSFU, it could be labeled as an Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated (IUU) vessel.

Oceana’s Communication Director, Alyssa Noble, stressed the need for this system after the country was penalized in 2012, 2013, and 2014 over IUU. Noble said that the European Union banned fish imports from Belize during that time. As a result, the Belize Fisheries Unit introduced a revised Act and has taken significant steps ensuring the country’s leadership in addressing the issue and now provides real-time data of activities at sea. “Anyone interested in seeing the information can go on to the global fishing website and see the commercial fishing vessels flagged to Belize and from other countries using this platform,” said Noble.

Other countries using this platform include Indonesia, Peru, Panama, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, and Costa Rica.

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