Oceana, the world’s largest international organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation, is hosting a series of activities to officially mark the opening of office at #33 Cor. Regent & Dean Streets in Belize City, Belize. Oceana announced its presence in Belize in May of this year -- the organization’s Belizean office is led by attorney-at-law, Audrey Matura-Shepherd.
Two internationally-known members of Oceana’s board of directors will travel to Belize: César Gaviria, a former Columbian president and Secretary General of the OAS, and Dr. Daniel Pauly, a world-renowned marine scientist. Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless, who has been instrumental in determining the need for Oceana’s work in Belize, will also attend.
Gaviria is no stranger to Belize, as he visited several times as Secretary General to address the border dispute between Guatemala and Belize. Dr. Pauly, a professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada, makes his first visit to Belize. Pauly has been recognized as one of the top fisheries scientists in the world – he received the International Cosmos Prize in 2005 and was named a “top 50 scientist” by Scientific American magazine in 2003.
The activities on November 14-17, 2009, include a private reception with members of the NGO communities, members of the National Assembly, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony and a special lecture by Dr. Pauly open to the general public.
“Oceana is hosting the public lecture,” noted Matura Shepard, “to increase awareness about ocean issues in Belize, and to help ensure that the Belizean people are part of the decision-making process on how to best preserve our invaluable marine resources. ”
The lecture on Nov. 16 will cover “World Fisheries at Risk – Causes and Solutions.” It will be attended by students from the University of Belize and as well as from thirteen high schools. In special attendance will be fishermen from Belize City and members of the tourism industry and law enforcement officers, including from the Coast Guard.
Part of the team’s visit will be a working tour on the island of San Pedro on Sunday November 15, 2009 hosted by the Minister of Tourism in collaboration with the Belize Tourism Board. The team will also be paying courtesy calls on the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean O. Barrow; the Minister for Fisheries Hon. Rene Montero and the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Johnny Briceño.