Oceana in Belize Hands Over First Trawler To CZMAI

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Shrimp Trawler, Northern I

January 18, 2012
Belize City, Belize
Niall Gillett ( [email protected] )
( [email protected] )

Czmai Signs for Northern 1Shrimp Trawler, Northern I (one) now has a new home and owner and will now be used for research and education.   This was announced today at signing ceremonies between Oceana and Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute.   After the complete ban of all forms of trawling in Belize in February 2011, the Northern I and Northern II were no longer commercially viable for the Northern Fisherman Cooperative, which sold over the vessels to Oceana Inc.

Oceana sought proposals from interested parties and narrowed down one of its choice to CZMAI, who paid Bz$1.00 for the trawler under the contractual agreement signed today.  During the handing- over ceremonies held today at Oceana’s office, Vincent Gillett, CEO of CZMAI, said that “the organization is grateful to Oceana for allowing us to be considered for ownership, and for giving us the opportunity to get into open water marine research activities.”

The trawler, worth over $400,000, is one of two bought out last year by Oceana as part of the conditions to the passing of the historic legislation, banning bottom trawling in all of Belize’s waters.  “It was important that we put the vessel into a productive use that would help us to conserve and protect our marine resources and we know that proper resource management is best done with relevant data, research and studies, so we support CZMA’s plan to lead in this area for the benefit of the health of our marine environment”, said VP for Oceana Audrey Matura-Shepherd.

The ownership of the second trawler – the Northern 2 – is still under discussion with the Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP), but is expected to be decided on shortly.

Belize’s trawling ban, which was a historic decision by Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s administration and had the full support of Minister responsible for Fisheries, Rene Montero.  This legislative change also obtained the support of the fisher folks, especially those at NFC, who had invested in creating a trawling fleet, but recognized the need to end destructive fishing practices in order to allow decreasing fish stocks to replenish.

Belize became one of the first countries in the world to institute a complete and permanent ban on all forms of trawling in all its waters.