Thursday, July 18, 2024

Hol Chan Marine Reserve tackles irregular fishing activities; adds more patrols around island waters

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The monitoring and surveillance of waters around the island, particularly within the marine protected areas, have significantly increased over the past weeks. Entities spearheading the patrolling include the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the Belize Coast Guard, Fisheries Department, and San Pedro Police Formation. Recent sting operations have led to the detention of several persons engaged in illegal fishing in the reserve. The public is reminded that offenses such as irregular fishing or activities against the Fisheries Act can lead to prosecution.

As per the Act/law, all persons on a fishing vessel engaged in commercial fishing must have a fisherfolk license. A fisherfolk license also states what a fisher can or cannot do. All marine products caught must be within season and meet the required size limits. The vessel used must also be registered with the Fisheries Department.

Fisherfolks should be aware that fishing in marine protected areas is strictly prohibited. These illicit activities have been reported in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve around the island and on the northern coast by Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. Some of these activities occur under cover of night, but Hol Chan hopes to clamp down this illegal practice with the upgrade in equipment and human resources.

In addition, fishing off kayaks is discouraged as it has become a problem with people fishing in no-take zones. The Hol Chan management hopes to dissuade islanders from this fishing method that is now considered illegal.

The violation of these regulations may lead to thousands of dollars in fines and even imprisonment.

Anyone who has any information on Fisheries Violations or other concerns can contact the Hol Chan Marine Reserve at 226-2247

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