Fisher of the Year Award Print E-mail
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Friday, 06 July 2018 00:00

An award ceremony for the Fisher of the Year was held at the UWI on Friday, June 29, 2018. There, three Belizean fishers- two men and a woman- were recognized for the outstanding contributions to their sector and the economy of Belize. The event marked the culmination of Fisherfolk Month 2018 and the Wildlife Conservation Society in Belize held numerous events during the month of June.

At the Fisher of the Year Award, the last event for Fisherfolk Month 2018, David Flores of Copper Bank was recognized as Belize’s fisher of the year. Being the hard worker he is, he was out at sea so his son, Govany Flores, collected his award on his behalf and expressed why he nominated his dad. “He is a good dad. He likes to fish. He has fifty-five, fifty-six years fishing. He likes his family and so when he comes back from fishing he gives fish to his family and sometimes he brings some for his friends also and sometimes he likes to help some of the people in the village.”

Ralna Lewis, WCS Belize, said that Flores, who is the secretary for the National Cooperative Society Ltd., was selected because of his contributions to the cooperatives in Belize. “The National Cooperative is currently undergoing a transformation where they are looking at improving their efficiency, looking at introducing a traceability system and looking at identifying additional markets for their members. So, one of the major things that they are looking at is the eventual exportation of live lobster which will obviously lead to an increase for the payment that the fishers receive. So, it is looking at how it will improve the lives of the fishers. So, those are some of the merits which allowed Mr. Flores to be selected as the fisher of the year. He was also instrumental in advancing the national roll out of managed access across Belizean territorial waters, as well.”

He received $1,000 cash prize — $500 from the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and another $500 from The Nature Conservancy. Besides Flores, Paula Williams of Punta Negra, Toledo, and Carl Cabral, who at the age of 93 still spends most of his time out at English Caye, were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the sector as well as being exemplary advocates of sustainable fishing.

Keynote Speaker Milton Haughton, Executive Director, Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, said: “The fisheries sector in Belize is entirely small-scale in nature. In some CARICOM countries, there are some large-scale industrial and semi-industrial type fisheries but overall the fisheries are overwhelmingly small-scale. So the small-scale fisheries are very, very important in the Caribbean region and globally. About 70% of all the fish and seafood consumed globally comes from small-scale fishers. Notwithstanding this fact, the needs of small-scale fishers have long been overlooked.”