Society what are we going to do? Do we want a sustainable fishery being promoted by The Belize Fisheries Department led by corruption? Corruption within this ONE department established to enforce and monitor legislation does not encourage the sustainable use of our marine resources. Join the BFF to identify mechanism to hold officers in position of authority accountable for activities that are counterproductive to the ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE BELIZE FEDERATION OF FISHERS REQUEST AN IMMEDIATE REMOVAL OF SENIOR FISHERIES OFFICER, MAURO GONGORA, FROM THE HEAD OF FISHERIES CAPTURE UNIT FOR THE ALLEGED SEA CUCUMBER SCAM AMONGST OTHER REPORTED ACTIVITIES

Over the last few years fisher-folks from across the country, especially those from, Dangriga, Hopkins, Chunox and Copper Bank, have numerously complained to the Belize Fisheries Department, in most cases to the Fisheries Administrator, Ms Beverly Wade, on Mr. Gongora’s questionable and possibly corrupt activities. Unfortunately when the fisher-folks report these activities in which Mr. Gongora has been involved in, fishers are met with resistance and pushed around to the point of frustration. Furthermore, our fishers have been harassed out at sea by fisheries officers for making complaints to the Fisheries Department. Due to the perceived victimization by fisheries officers our fisher-folk community has been intimidated to make reports and fishers who did make a report no longer trust in the established system as Mauro Gongora and other fisheries officers who have been reported have not been reprimanded.

As fishers out at Sea, attempting to follow the Fisheries Legislation’s of Belize and championing the sustainability of the fishery, we condemn the actions of law enforcing officers such as Mauro Gongora who discourages fishers from abiding to the legislation’s due to his corrupt actions.

The Federation views the presence of a law suit against Mauro Gongora as a serious breach of that authority and trust bestowed unto him by the Government of Belize. It is the Federation’s perception that the credibility of such individual has decreased within the fisher-folk community and therefore the Federation questions Mr. Gongora’s ability to objectively and professionally perform the duties assigned to him. The Federation is requesting that the Fisheries Administrator, who is directly responsible for the management of the department, to remove Mauro Gongora from the post of Coordinator for the Capture Unit immediately and curtail his activities until the civil case against him is resolved.

The Federation calls upon the Honorable Minister of Forestry Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Lisel Alamilla, under whose portfolio the Fisheries Department falls, to hold the Fisheries Administrator accountable for addressing this matter in a professional and transparent manner to ensure that the confidence and trust of fishers in the regulating body is not further eroded. We also call for joint collaboration with the NGO community and other stakeholders to identify mechanisms to hold officers in positions of authority accountable for activities that are counterproductive to the ecosystem approach to fisheries management being promoted by the Fisheries Department and its NGO partners.

Corruption within the ONE department established to enforce and monitor legislation’s does not encourage the sustainable use of our marine resources. The BFF and all its member associations are willing to support and assist the Fisheries Department in attaining a sustainable fishery.

The Belize Federation of Fishers
“A Voice for all Commercial Fishers”

Written by EMC BFF