Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. To learn more, please visit www.belize.oceana.org.
The biggest reef in Americas says “No!” to offshore oil Belize moratorium on offshore oil activity passes with unanimous support In December 2017, Belizean leaders unanimously supported and passed the Petroleum Operations (Maritime Zone Moratorium) Bill placing an indefinite moratorium on offshore oil in Belize’s marine territory, including territorial seas and Exclusive Economic Zone. This action is historic given Belize’s economic dependence on its natural resources and will safeguard invaluable marine environments including the second longest barrier reef in the world, which runs along Belize’s coast. Just as importantly, this law recognizes and respects the collective leadership and persistent involvement of tens of thousands of Belizeans for more than seven years on the issue of offshore oil.
Oceana has been an unwavering supporter of this call of the Belizean people since it began in the aftermath of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 and within the reality that Belize’s entire offshore area had already been sold as oil concession licenses. Following the announcement, Oceana’s Vice President for Belize Janelle Chanona said, “This is truly ‘The People’s Law’. Belizeans have remained steadfast in their opposition to offshore oil since they became aware that marine assets were at risk of irreversible damage from the offshore oil industry.”
Belize’s outstanding and invaluable marine assets and biological diversity has made tourism and fishing key economic pillars in the country’s financial landscape. Belize is one of less than 50 places on the planet designated World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. This law will be a critical step in getting Belize off the Sites In Dangers List as oil was identified as a direct threat to the site’s integrity.
Blog posts on Oceana website:
- Are We Drowning Our Future?
- Gillnet Documentary
- As Game Fish Suffer, a Handful of Fishers in Belize Threaten the Livelihoods of Thousands
- Fishing Responsibly
Fish Right, Eat Right: A Sustainable Seafood Initiative for Belize
Local Market-Based Certification Program for Responsible Seafood Sourcing
The Fish Right, Eat Right Concept Fishermen, NGOs, and fishery managers recognize the importance that responsible consumption can have on compliance with fisheries regulations. Managed Access, Replenishment Zones, Fish for Life and Restaurant Resort Roadshow are programs that have been contemplating the implementation of a market-based program backed by an education campaign that will provide incentives for fishermen, retailers, restaurants, and consumers to promote and support the harvest, trade and consumption of sustainably- and legally-caught seafood. Fish Right, Eat Right establishes a local brand that will highlight establishments sourcing seafood responsibly. This will help make it easier for consumers to make sustainable choices that ensure the health of our oceans. The brand is being developed via a collaborative process involving all partners including the private sector.
The goal of this certification program is to curb illegal fishing and promote best practices in fisheries by providing marketing incentives throughout the supply chain via the promotion of responsible seafood consumption. Those establishments that demonstrate knowledge of and compliance with the Fisheries Regulations will receive special recognition, and responsible fishermen who comply with the Regulations will have preferential access to these reliable markets. Fish Right, Eat Right is initially targeting restaurants and hotels, and possibly expanding to include cooperatives, fish markets, supermarkets and other seafood purveyors in the future. An advertising campaign for tourists and the general public to support these compliant, recognized establishments will be planned and launched. For restaurants, this program will help match consumer demand for sustainable, healthy products with a supply chain that will deliver. The program will also help restaurants identify alternative seafood options for consumption that can help reduce fishing pressure on species that are overexploited, threatened, or endangered.
What is Responsibly Sourced Seafood?
The Fish Right, Eat Right symbol on a menu is Belize’s assurance that your seafood has been responsibly
sourced – that is, caught legally, following best management practices, and fully traceable.
Initial Requirements for Receiving Recognition through the Fish Right, Eat Right Certification
- Education: knowledge of Belize fisheries regulations and sustainable fisheries management
- Compliance & Transparency: compliance with the Fisheries Regulations and participation with the data collection program of the Fisheries Department
- Promotion & Awareness: promotion on menu of sustainable seafood options and display of educational material that highlights the Fisheries Regulations and other sustainable fisheries management initiatives
- Purchase of responsibly-sourced seafood
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the goal of the program?
To have seafood purveyors become part of the solution to managing and protecting Belize’s natural resources – by agreeing to purchase only seafood that is legally-caught, follows best management practices and is fully traceable, they reduce the market for juvenile fish and other
Who is running the program?
- Implementing agencies: Belize Tourism Board (BTB), Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), Belize Fisheries Department (BFD)
- Supporting Organizations: Oceana, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
Who can join?
- Any restaurant/hotel in Belize whose seafood is primarily sourced locally (from Belize). At the outset this program will be limited to restaurants/hotels, but may be expanded to supermarkets, fish markets and other seafood purveyors in the future.
- Support of local fishermen that are committed to sustainable use of Belize’s natural resources. How does this fit in with other sustainable seafood programs?
- Fish Right, Eat Right compliments international sustainable seafood certifications and rating programs by ensuring that chefs are committed to buying legally caught local seafood. In this way we can work with other globally recognized certifications and ratings that certify seafood products themselves (e.g., MSC, Fair Trade, Seafood Watch).