Belize City, Belize, February 11, 2019 – In a press event Friday, February 8th, the Belize Fisheries Department, the National Fishermen Cooperative (NFC) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Belize presented the pioneering technology Tally, by ThisFish, to implement improvements in the country’s lobster and conch fishery production. This innovative new technology, implemented within the framework of the Resilient Central America (ResCA) project, will improve efficiencies at the processing plant, allow for the cooperative to better monitor activities, and ensure traceability (accountability and transparency) from fisher to consumer.
“Full electronic traceability is a pioneering new technology – it tracks a product from the time of capture at sea, through the landing and processing at the plant, all the way through exportation and shipping to the consumers plate. The Tally system by ThisFish tracks the product from landing to buyer.” said Julie Robinson, Belize Oceans Lead for The Nature Conservancy. “Now, a consumer will know who caught their lobster, when, where, and the life-cycle process it endured to arrive on their plate. It’s essentially a ‘hook to plate’ traceability.”
Recognizing the continued pressures on fisheries resources in Belize, the Belize Fisheries Department, NFC, TNC and other non-government partners initiated this collaboration to improve fisheries management and ensure food security across the region. Belize’s fishing industry supports approximately 15,000 people in Belize, with almost 20% of those being licensed commercial fishers. The fishing industry annually contributes $22 million BZD, or 3%, to Belize’s overall economy and the two principal fisheries in the country are spiny lobster and the queen conch.
Due to the importance of these fisheries, it is essential to collect better and broader data that can be shared across organizations. With the implementation of Tally by ThisFish, the data generated from this tool will provide information directly to the Fisheries Department for real-time analysis and management of the fishery.
For NFC, providing electronic traceability of spiny lobster and conch will ensure sustainably caught fish are entering premium markets, therefore driving higher prices from seafood buyers and generating economic security for its’ fishers and cooperative members.
“The Cooperatives are some of the last grassroots businesses in the country. They are owned by the very people who are producing, and they are the first ones to have started the commercialisation of seafood out of Belize” said Beverly Wade, Belize Fisheries Administrator.
The implementation of Tally is occurring through the framework of the Resilient Central America (ResCA) project, which is a four-year initiative led by the United States Department of State, The Nature Conservancy and AgroLAC 2025. The goal of this project is to promote healthy and productive ecosystems by achieving food security and resilience to climate change.
“We want the economy to drive sustainable fisheries for a healthy reef and sea,” said Julie Robinson. “The implementation of this tool will have widespread effects across organizations and meet the standards from the global fisheries sector. It’s a perfect example of collaboration here in Belize.”
“We want the economy to drive sustainable fisheries for a healthy reef and sea,” “The implementation of this tool will have widespread effects across organizations and meet the standards from the global fisheries sector. It’s a perfect example of collaboration here in Belize.”
The Belize Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, The Environment and Sustainable Development is headed by the Fisheries Administrator and assisted by several technical staff to carry out its functions, the Department’s responsibilities is programed into four units. Responsible for conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources, registration and licenses, fisheries research, education, liaise with fishing cooperatives, management of marine reserves, fisheries law enforcement, export and research permits. Its mission is to provide the country and people of Belize with the best possible management of its aquatic and fisheries resources, with a view to optimize the present and future benefits through efficient and sustainable management.
The National Fishermen Cooperative, registered as the National Producers Cooperative Society Limited, is an operational fishing cooperative based in Belize City, Belize and is one of three fishing cooperatives in Belize.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit http://www.nature.org/belize or follow @The Nature Conservancy in Belize on Facebook.
Resilient Central America is a four-year initiative across Central America that promotes healthy and productive ecosystems that achieve food security and resilience to climate change. Led by the United States Department of State, The Nature Conservancy, and AgroLAC 2025, this project is implementing fisheries and land-based projects across Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. To learn more, visit www.resilientcentralamerica.org or follow @ResilienteCA on Twitter or @ResilienteCA on Facebook.