Volume 54

A Perpective on the Implications of USA Fisheries Policies on the Belize Fishing Industry

Wade, B.A.; Ariola, E.A.
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Date: November, 2001

Pages: 147-155

Event: Proceedings of the Fifty Fourth Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Providenciales Turks & Caicos Islands

Country: Turks and Caicos Islands


The fishing industry in Belize contributes significantly to the country's national economy. In the year 2000, the fishing industry ranked as the fourth highest foreign exchange earner in Belize and contributed approximately 6% to the Gross Domestic Product. Total earnings amounted to 71.8 million Bze dollars of which the capture fisheries sector valued 24.3 million Bze dollars and the shrimp mariculture sector 47.5 million Bze dollars. This industry is considered to be successful and lucrative mainly because it has been able to maintain very high quality products and access to foreign markets through well-organized fishing cooperatives. Fisheries and other related policies of the United States of America over the years have influenced and thus impacted the fishing industries in Belize and the Caribbean, particularly in the aspects of trade and the development of traditional fisheries. As aresult, several of Belize's fisheries policies and enabling legislations have been structured to make the most of US and other available markets. Compliance with policies formulated or supported by the US, have also highlighted Belize's political will to support fue global efforts in the sustainable management of fisheries stocks and the conservation of endangered species. This in return has increased Belize's eligibiliti for foreign aid to facilitate its own national efforts in fisheries management. While acknowledging the aforementioned benefits, the challenges that confront Belize in adopting U.S policies should not be overlooked. The implementation of these policies has had some negative impacts on the fishing industry due mainly to financial and human resource constraints of the fishing cooperatives and Government of Belize for institutional strengthening and capacity building. It must also be noted that compliance with these policies have 100 to negative cultural consequences such as the restriction and in some instances the prohibition of traditional fishing for certain species.

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