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Belize will develop a sustainable Blue Economy with IDB assistance

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A $7 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will help Belize build its Blue Economy in a sustainable manner. The overall goals of the program are to support sustainable exploitation of the nation’s commercial marine resources while increasing the earning potential of artisanal fishers and maintaining high fisheries exports.

The recent Belize Investment Summit in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, featured a ceremonial signing between John Briceo, the country’s prime minister, and Tomás Bermdez, the IDB’s general manager for Central America, Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.

The loan is designed to strengthen the government’s capacity to sustainably manage Belize’s economically important commercial fish species, like conch, lobster, and finfish. It will also help prompt the country’s artisanal fishers to adopt sustainable and climate-resilient technologies.

“IDB Group remains committed to supporting Belize to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth and one of our priorities is climate action. Conservation initiatives aimed at preserving and rejuvenating marine ecosystems are integral cornerstones in our efforts to mitigate climate change and facilitate the restoration of biodiversity,” stated Tomás Bermúdez.

The fishing industry has played a major role in Belize’s development, providing the country with jobs, food security, and revenue and foreign currency reserves. On average, fisheries and aquaculture accounted for 12 per cent of total exports from 2015 to 2021. The fishing industry directly employs over 3,000 fishers and indirectly provides livelihoods for more than 15,000 people, or around 10 per cent of the country’s labour force.

“Almost 50 per cent of our productive sector is dependent on the Blue Economy as this space is vital towards our national development and the successful implementation of Plan Belize. Fisheries has traditionally played an important role in the Belizean economy and continues to do so. As such, we need to work hand in hand with our Belizean people to sustainably manage our ocean’s resources” said John Briceño.

This operation is expected to improve the way Belize’s fishing industry is managed by using technology and science to process information on fisheries. This data will in turn help the country design and implement science- and evidence-based policies to maintain the biological health of the country’s fisheries and the profitability of its fishing industry.

The approved loan will also boost the quality of life of artisanal fishers through a grant program that finances business plans for implementing sustainable and resilient fishing technologies.

The implementation will be done using a centralized executing scheme for project administration with the strong technical leadership of the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation.

The IDB loan has a 25-year repayment period and a 5.5-year grace period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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