28 August, 2007


Oriental Fish Imports. A correspondent sent me a Belize article from Caribbean Net News. I read it with interest. I was amazed. I had no idea that any public health authority in the West Indies was so aware of the environmental issue. It was staggering, for someone residing in Anguilla to read about such principled determination.

Their Quarantine and Inspection Service has recently confiscated and destroyed 4,492 pounds of fish originating from Asia. The reason? The fish were inspected! It was noticed that they were not from the USA as stated on the permits presented for importation, but from Asian countries such as China, India and Vietnam. The problem? The fish represented a high risk for the introduction of diseases to the aquaculture sector. These countries are not transparent in their reporting of fish diseases.

It gets better. I learned that the Belize Agricultural Health Authority in 2006 issued 6,257 animal health and food safety permits. All application are screened by a Veterinary and/or Food Safety Officer. A risk analysis is performed for those commodities that represent a high risk due to Belize’s natural conditions. In 2006, six international site visits were conducted to verify inspection, approval and certification procedures. Four documented risk analyses were performed for those commodities that represent a high risk. These included milk powder, duck meat, packaged bees, and pork.

In the same year, 2006, the Quarantine and Inspection Services confiscated over 106,500 pounds of high-risk commodities. They refused entry into Belize of a total of 90,000 pounds of commodities due to high pest infestation.

Can any of us in Anguilla imagine anything like that happening in our Public Health or Fisheries Authorities? I doubt it. If I am wrong, please let me know. And, what was much more extraordinary, the information was published! It was information that the press and public could access. It was not kept from the public. That is quite extraordinary for us in Anguilla. As my correspondent writes,

How mucha high risk or pest-infested commodities were confiscated in Anguilla in 2006? If anything has ever been confiscated here in living memory, it's a State Secret. But we have the Cuban tree frog, the killer tick, the pink mealy bug and a zillion African snails.

Of course, Belize has marine parks. She has fish farms. She has one of the greatest barrier reefs outside of Australia to protect. Her officials have more reason to be interested in the marine environment than our officials. We in Anguilla have nothing worth protecting. Or, so it would seem!!

1 comment:

  1. "You have to know the politics as well. Nearly all environmental issues are fundamentally political issues. You do not get anywhere without getting the politics right."
    --Iain Orr of BioDiplomacy, testimony, House of Commons Environmental Audit Select Committee, January 2007


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