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BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Friday, 23 February 2018 (CRFM)—We know from the devastation wrought in the Caribbean last September by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, just how important it is for the region to step up its game in tackling climate change and the risks posed by natural disasters. The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has recently inked an agreement with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) that will put the region on better footing to address the impacts of disasters on fishing communities.

The CRFM—the CARICOM agency which works to promote sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture sector—is a regional partner on the Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean Fisheries Sector (CC4FISH) Project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It is under this umbrella that the new initiative is being implemented for the benefit of the CARICOM States.

The CRFM is overseeing the development of the regional protocol to integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries and aquaculture into the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy. The intent is to have the protocol ready before the start of the next hurricane season, which begins on June 1.


Leslie John Walling of Jamaica, a Coastal Resource Manager whose specializations include Coastal Resources Assessment and Management, Disaster Risk Reduction Planning, and Climate Change Adaptation Planning, has been engaged as a consultant to assist with the development of the new protocol. Mr. Walling will be consulting with government and non-government stakeholders in fisheries/aquaculture, climate change and disaster risk management, including the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), as he puts together the draft document.


The draft protocol will be presented for review and validation at a regional workshop slated for 18 April 2018 in Montserrat, on the heels of the 16th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the technical and advisory arm of the CRFM. After the technical experts from the member countries and partner agencies weigh in on the document, it will be refined then tabled at the May 2018 meeting of Caribbean ministers responsible for fisheries and aquaculture, the Ministerial Council of the CRFM, which sets policy for our region.


The catastrophic hurricane wrecked important infrastructure that supported fisheries

Hurricane Maria devastated Dominica last September. The fisheries sector suffered substantial losses as well.

The Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, which was endorsed by the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), in October 2014 lists, among its objectives, the development of a fisheries policy that integrates environmental, coastal and marine management considerations, in a way that safeguards fisheries and associated ecosystems from human-induced threats and to mitigate the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

 The policy calls for the development of protocols to build upon the policy and recognizes that those protocols would also be considered to be a part of the regional policy.

 (Photographs provided by Fisheries Department, Dominica)

Published in Press release

The CRFM Secretariat is inviting expressions of interest from suitably qualified persons to undertake a short term assignment to develop a regional protocol to integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries and aquaculture into the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy. The Consultant will consult government and non-government stakeholders connected with fisheries/aquaculture, climate change and disaster risk management across the CARICOM countries and develop a draft Protocol for presentation, discussion and validation at a regional workshop on 18 April 2018 in Montserrat. The revised draft protocol must be submitted by 28 April 2018.

Expression of interest should be submitted to the CRFM Secretariat on or before 5.00 pm on Tuesday 13 February 2018.

Click here for further details.

Published in Press release

 The first ever Caribbean Marine Climate Change Report Card is now public.

 According to the document, "Caribbean fishing is highly vulnerable to climate change, especially those in the Greater and Lesser Antilles. Caribbean fisheries are under threat due to changes in ocean currents and fish distribution, and loss of marine habitats. Coastal erosion is also compromising important fish landing beach sites and increasing intensity of storms together with increased sea level causes damage to fish habitats, fishery access and assets."


Read the full 2017 Report Card in this post or download a copy via the link below.



Published in Press release

This report is the second of four outputs in this initiative of CRFM and FAO on ‘Climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries and aquaculture in the CARICOM region’. The aim is to develop a strategy and action plan for integrating DRM, CCA and fisheries and aquaculture, with a focus on small-scale fisheries (SSF) and small-scale aquaculture.

This strategy and action plan is built upon, and integrates into, core policy documents. The regional policy context is primarily the ‘Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change’ (the Regional Framework) that articulates CARICOM’s strategy on climate change. CARICOM Heads of Government endorsed the Regional Framework at their July 2009 meeting in Guyana and issued the Liliendaal Declaration which sets out key climate change related interests and aims of CARICOM Member States. Based on the Liliendaal Declaration is the Implementation Plan (IP) for the Regional Framework. It is entitled ‘Delivering transformational change 2011 - 2021’ and incorporated several global to regional instruments concerning climate change and variability.See volume 1 for references and a comprehensive list of recommended further reading.

Fisheries and aquaculture initiatives in the CARICOM region should be integrated into the IP and take into account the CARICOM and OECS approaches to climate change that integrate DRM. Inclusion of, or collaboration with, non-CARICOM Caribbean countries in the IP also needs to be cnsidered. The CDEMA Enhanced CDM Framework for 2007-2012 is another core document that emphasises in Outcome 4 the need to focus on community level adaptation and management. The fourteenth session of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC), held in Panama in February 2012, agreed to address CCA and DRM in fisheries and aquaculture in future sessions and, in its 2012 - 2013 Work Plan, included the preparation of a strategy, action plan and programme proposal on these, to be supported by FAO. Several policy instruments need to be taken into account specifically for ecosystem approaches to fisheries and aquaculture. These include the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (FAO 1995) and the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) and the OECS St George’s Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability (SGD).These documents contribute to a vision such as: regional society and economy that is resilient to a changing climate and enhanced through comprehensive disaster management and sustainable use of aquatic resources.

The CCCCC Regional Framework contains five strategy elements and twenty goals or similar statements. Some are more relevant to fisheries and aquaculture, using an ecosystem approach, than others. Several aspects are developed in the IP, mainly under the heading of coastal and marine matters. This strategy and action plan incorporates fisheries and aquaculture more prominently into the IP as requested by the CRFM in order to strengthen the existing linkages to mutual advantage.

The strategy and action plan draws on the above-mentioned documents, elaborates on the concept of transformation and develops content to which the proposed programme for the region can be linked (see Volume 3). This volume sets out strategic actions “to strengthen regional and national cooperation and develop capacity in addressing climate change impacts and disasters in the fisheries and aquaculture sector”. It draws upon key regional policy instruments on fisheries, aquaculture, climate change and disasters. Ultimately it will be important for there to be linkages between the enhanced IP and critical fisheries and aquaculture policy at the regional and national levels. A protocol to the CCCFP that sets out these relationships could be a logical next step in this process. 


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