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Belize City, Friday, 19 July 2019 (CRFM)— Eighteen border control officers from seven Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are currently undergoing a four-week training course in Fisheries Prosecution and Interdiction, organized by the Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS) in collaboration with the CRFM Secretariat, the Government of Barbados, and the British Royal Navy’s Fisheries Protection Squadron.

 

The training, being held at the Paragon Base of the Barbados Defense Force, brings together officers of the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force Coast Guard; Antigua and Barbuda Fisheries Division; Barbados Coast Guard; Royal Barbados Police Force Marine Unit; Barbados Fisheries Division; Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force; Royal Grenada Police Force Marine Unit; the St. Kitts-Nevis Defense Force Coast Guard; Royal Saint Lucia Police Force Marine Unit; and the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Coast Guard.

 

The course is expected to improve the skills and competencies of authorized officers responsible for enforcing the Fisheries Acts and Fisheries Regulations, and supporting administrative policies.

 

Participants are increasing their ability to function in an operational environment and in accordance with best practices based on the CRFM’s Prosecution and Enforcement Manuals for CARIFORUM Member States: Volume 1 – Fisheries Prosecution Manual; and Volume 2 – Fisheries Enforcement Standard Operating Procedures Manual.

 

These officers who have border security and fisheries prosecution responsibilities, will become more knowledgeable of the correct procedures to follow while enforcing the laws under their Fisheries Acts and Regulations. They will also become better able to prepare for trial proceedings where offences are committed in violation of the Fisheries Laws and where illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing is perpetrated. IUU fishing is a major concern for the region, since it undermines efforts to conserve and sustainably manage fisheries resources and furthermore jeopardizes food security, livelihoods, and foreign exchange earnings from fisheries.

 

Participants working on cases for mock trial

Participants working on cases for mock trial (Photo: CRFM)

 

The subject matter experts who facilitated the course were drawn from the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat; the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) – Barbados; the Royal Barbados Police Force Marine Unit; Royal Navy – Fisheries Protection Squadron; the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy – Barbados; and the Regional Security System Headquarters. Successful participants will be awarded an RSS Certificate of Training for the completion of the Fisheries Prosecution and Interdiction course.

 

This course was jointly funded by the European Union through the 10th EDF Project and Regional Security System (RSS). The RSS is an international agreement for the defense and security of the Eastern Caribbean region. The seven member nations are: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

 

Member States cooperate in the prevention and interdiction of trafficking in illegal narcotic drugs, in national emergencies, search and rescue, immigration control, fisheries protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, natural and other disasters, pollution control, combating threats to national security, the prevention of smuggling, and in the protection of offshore installations and exclusive economic zones. The RSS also provides training for joint land and maritime operations, disaster relief, anti-drug operations and antiterrorism, and intelligence gathering and sharing.

Published in Press release

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers will assemble on Thursday and Friday of this week, from 13-14 June, at the Marriott Resort in Frigate Bay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, for the 13th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).

On the occasion of the Council Meeting, Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture, Health, National Health Insurance, Human Settlements, Community Development, Gender Affairs, Social Services, Land and Cooperatives, will assume chairmanship of the Council from Montserrat’s Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Honourable David Osborne.

The main proceedings of the Council Meeting will be preceded by the 3rd Meeting of the Ministerial Sub-Committee on the Flyingfish Fishery in the Eastern Caribbean. Thereafter, the Council will deliberate upon the state of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the Caribbean region, and review status and trends in order to inform their decisions and policies at both the regional and national levels.

The Ministers will consider several recommendations arising from the 17th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, held in March in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Forum provides technical leadership to the CRFM and scientific advice to the Ministerial Council. The Council, on the other hand, is the chief decision- and policy-making arm of the Mechanism.

At the upcoming two-day annual meeting, the Ministers will take a critical look at challenges confronting the fisheries and aquaculture sector, but more importantly at the interventions needed to effectively confront them.

The Executive Director of the CRFM, Milton Haughton said, “This meeting will address ongoing efforts to improve resilience in fishing communities and to adapt to climate change; combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing; improve conservation and management of fisheries resources and ecosystems; strengthen systems for evidence-based decision making; respond to the Sargassum inundation affecting the fisheries sector; promote the blue economy and strengthen partnerships with development partners and donors.”

The last regular meeting of the Council was hosted in May 2018 in Montserrat. The Council also meets for a Special Meeting during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, convened around October each year.

 

 

Published in Press release

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers will assemble on Thursday and Friday of this week, from 13-14 June, at the Marriott Resort in Frigate Bay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, for the 13th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).

On the occasion of the Council Meeting, Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture, Health, National Health Insurance, Human Settlements, Community Development, Gender Affairs, Social Services, Land and Cooperatives, will assume chairmanship of the Council from Montserrat’s Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Honourable David Osborne.

The main proceedings of the Council Meeting will be preceded by the 3rd Meeting of the Ministerial Sub-Committee on the Flyingfish Fishery in the Eastern Caribbean. Thereafter, the Council will deliberate upon the state of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the Caribbean region, and review status and trends in order to inform their decisions and policies at both the regional and national levels.

The Ministers will consider several recommendations arising from the 17th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, held in March in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Forum provides technical leadership to the CRFM and scientific advice to the Ministerial Council. The Council, on the other hand, is the chief decision- and policy-making arm of the Mechanism.

At the upcoming two-day annual meeting, the Ministers will take a critical look at challenges confronting the fisheries and aquaculture sector, but more importantly at the interventions needed to effectively confront them.

The Executive Director of the CRFM, Milton Haughton said, “This meeting will address ongoing efforts to improve resilience in fishing communities and to adapt to climate change; combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing; improve conservation and management of fisheries resources and ecosystems; strengthen systems for evidence-based decision making; respond to the Sargassum inundation affecting the fisheries sector; promote the blue economy and strengthen partnerships with development partners and donors.”

The last regular meeting of the Council was hosted in May 2018 in Montserrat. The Council also meets for a Special Meeting during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, convened around October each year.

Published in Press release

 

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, SUNDAY, 14 October 2018 (CRFM)—A Protocol on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries and Aquaculture was approved for CARICOM States during a recent high-level meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).

 

At the 8th Special Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council held in Barbados on Thursday, 11 October 2018, during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, the ministers approved the protocol to the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP), which promotes cooperation and collaboration among Caribbean people, fishers and governments in conserving, managing, and sustainably using fisheries and related ecosystems, as well as improving the welfare and livelihood of fisherfolk in the region.

 

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, said, “This protocol is of paramount importance in the region, given the urgent and ever-increasing threats to fishing communities, fishers and the health of marine ecosystems and associated fish stocks in the region posed not only by warming waters and climate change but also by the acidification of the oceans, as a result of increased absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

 

Haughton said that among the obvious challenges are the bleaching and destruction of corals reefs, frequent massive blooms of Sargassum and other harmful marine algae, and the devastation caused by storms, hurricanes and floods that States must now contend with.

 

Hurricane Maria devastated the Roseau Fisheries Complex in Dominica laHurricane Maria devastated the Roseau Fisheries Complex in Dominica last year Fisheries Division Dominica

 

This protocol on climate change and disaster risk management comes as the region is still trying to bounce back from the devastating impacts of two catastrophic hurricanes, Irma and Maria, which struck last year. Photo: Roseau Fisheries Complex in Dominica (Fisheries Division, Dominica)

 

The damage our countries suffer is not limited to what is seen on land but also extends to the valuable natural resources under the sea which we often do not see,” the Executive Director added.

 

Haughton explained that the protocol provides pragmatic tools and measures to enable States and stakeholders to adapt and build resilience by working together and sharing experiences and best practices. He also emphasized the need for donors and international development partners to recognize the challenges faced by the countries in the coastal and marine environment, and to support their initiatives by providing tangible technical assistance and funding to help with implementation of the protocol.

 

In May 2018, the CRFM Ministerial Council approved another protocol under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy; that is, the Protocol on Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries for Caribbean Community fisherfolk and societies under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, aimed at improving the livelihood and welfare of small-scale fishers who are involved the harvesting, processing and marketing of fish and seafood.

 

The approved protocols were submitted to the CARICOM’s Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), which met on Friday 12 October, at the culmination of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture.

 

The development of Protocol on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries and Aquaculture was fast-tracked with support from the Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean Fisheries Sector (CC4FISH) Project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The initiative was implemented in the context of a technical cooperation agreement signed earlier this year by the CRFM and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

 

 Ministerial Council meeting 1

CRFM Ministerial Council meeting during Caribbean Week of Agriculture, which concluded on Friday (CRFM)

 

At the Ministerial Council meeting, chaired by David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment (MATLHE) of Montserrat, the policymakers also addressed social and welfare issues in the fisheries and aquaculture sector by issuing a policy statement on gender, youth and decent work as follows:

 

The Council accepted that international and national norms regarding issues pertaining to gender, youth, and decent work be adhered to, and be incorporated into all CRFM policies, protocols, programmes, and plans.”

 

In addition, the Council approved a concept note for a proposed project to reduce the vulnerability of coastal and marine social-ecological systems across CARICOM to Sargassum influxes. They also called upon the donor community and development partners to provide the technical assistance and funding needed to support implementation of the project, as well as the two Protocols adopted under the Common Fisheries Policy.

 

READ the protocol below or download the PDF version attached.

 

 

Published in Press release

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, MONDAY, 1 October 2018 (CRFM)—The state of the Eastern Caribbean flyingfish, as well as an updated plan to improve the management of this valuable resource shared across many Eastern Caribbean States, will be discussed at a two-day meeting being convened in Barbados today, Monday, 1 October 2018.

The discussions will take place in the context of the Special Meeting of the Joint Working Group on Flyingfish in the Eastern Caribbean, constituted by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Chief Fisheries Officers, as well as representatives of fisherfolk organizations, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, and development partners such as FAO-WECAFC, the University of the West Indies (UWI), the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), and the French Marine Research Agency – IFREMER, are due to attend the meeting, being held at the Blue Horizon Hotel in Christ Church, Barbados.

Long wing span of the flyingfish

 

“This meeting of the Joint CRFM/WECAFC Working Group on Flyingfish is timely and important given the challenges we face in the region from climate related changes affecting the marine environment and flyingfish stocks, and ultimately the livelihoods and food security of thousands of persons engaged along the entire flyingfish value chain,” said Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM.

“Our objective is to use the best available information and international best practices to make and implement reforms, and to work together to address the challenges and ensure sustainable and profitable fisheries now and in future,” Haughton added.

The stakeholders have been engaged in a series of consultations and technical studies towards strengthening governance arrangements, such as updating the Eastern Caribbean Flyingfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), which was adopted in 2014, as well as developing a policy for the sharing of data and information among the countries involved in the fisheries. The updated FMP is intended to improve the efficiency and viability of the sector and would also be adaptable to other fisheries.

The flyingfish initiative also focuses on improving stakeholder participation in planning and decision-making and improving collaboration between CARICOM States and the French Islands in research and management of the flyingfish fisheries.

The Joint CRFM/WECAFC Working Group is expected to produce tangible outputs for consideration by decision-makers at the meetings of the CRFM Ministerial Sub-Committee on Flyingfish as well as the Ministerial Council, both due to be held in early 2019.

Six CRFM Member States—Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago—are beneficiaries of a series of subprojects for which the CRFM is taking the lead. The CRFM had contracted Blue Earth Consultants, a division of the Eastern Research Group, to lead three of the six flyingfish sub-projects in collaboration with a team of local and international partners. CANARI in Trinidad and Tobago and Nexus Coastal Resource Management (Nexus) in Halifax, Canada, have been leading the remaining three sub-projects.

The CRFM, through this initiative, is emphasizing the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) for the management of the flyingfish Fishery, in a consultative approach that involves the full range of stakeholders. Th Initiative is supported with funding provided by the UNDP/GEF CLME+ Project which is working to achieve a healthy marine environment supporting enhanced livelihoods of the people of the Wider Caribbean.

A 16-minute documentary on the Eastern Caribbean flyingfish fisheries has also been produced as a part of the initiative.

 

Published in Press release

Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Montserrat, newly elected chair of the Council

 

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, WEDNESDAY, 23 May 2018 (CRFM)—Fisheries Ministers who recently attended the 12th Regular Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), held in Montserrat on Friday, 18 May 2018, endorsed a newly drafted protocol on Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the region.

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, noted that small-scale fisheries are the mainstay of the fisheries industry, both in the region and around the globe. He said that small-scale fisheries accounts for more than 95% of fisheries in CARICOM and are vital for food security and employment, particularly in coastal communities. Globally, it accounts for 90% of all the fisheries produced, Haughton said.

CRFM Executive Director Milton Haughton

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton

 

 

He explained that the Protocol had been developed within the framework of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP), accepted by CRFM Member States in 2014. The protocol, which addresses principles and standards for securing and strengthening small-scale fisheries, is the first protocol under the CCCFP, he added.

The Ministerial Council endorsed the Protocol and agreed on the need for immediate implementation. It, furthermore, called on regional and international development partners and donors to support the Protocol on small-scale fisheries and to assist Member States with implementing it as well as the CCCFP, to improve fisheries and aquaculture governance, as well as management in the region.

Outgoing chairman of the Ministerial Council, Hon. Noel Holder, M.P., Minister of Agriculture, Guyana, highlighted the need for government executives within CRFM Member States to help move the process forward.

He also flagged climate change, security at sea, and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing as three priority areas for the Caribbean’s fisheries sector. At the opening of the Meeting, Holder spoke of the destruction wrought by two catastrophic hurricanes, Irma and Maria, on some CRFM Member States last year, amid a period of above normal cyclonic events attributed to climate change.

Minister Holder completes tenure

Hon. Noel Holder, M.P., Minister of Agriculture, Guyana, outgoing chair of the Ministerial Council

 

On the issue of IUU fishing, Holder said that in CARICOM, 25% of catches are unreported and 5% are illegal, based on information published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Whereas illegal fishing is a problem – both globally and regionally – so too is piracy on the open waters. Minister Holder underscored during his remarks that the security of fishers as they traverse the waters of the Caribbean must be a high priority as the Council forges ahead. He spoke in light of the recently reported pirate attack off Suriname, feared to have claimed the lives of at least a dozen Guyanese fishers. The Minister said that his sympathies are with the families of the affected men.

Haughton noted that the Council meeting was taking place against the backdrop of a difficult and challenging period in the region for many countries, repositioning and reengineering their economies and preparing to address the “new normal” environment challenged by a changing climate, as well as warming and increasingly acidic waters.

Haughton cautioned, though, that the road ahead to building climate-smart, resilient economies; realize sustainable growth and development; and create jobs and prosperity for Caribbean people could prove difficult and challenging, but the CRFM’s resolve would not be broken.

He underscored that, “It is only through joint efforts that we can resolve the big problems, such as overfishing, climate change, marine pollution, invasive marine species, Sargassum seaweed inundation, [and] IUU fishing.”

The need for a united front was echoed by Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Montserrat.

“Fish know no boundaries. Let us, therefore, unite as ‘One Caribbean’ to conserve and sustainably use our oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development,” said Osborne, who was elected as the new chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council on Friday.

The Minister said that the Caribbean has its niche markets, which include fisheries, and he urged CRFM Member States “to step up to the plate and work with each other” in developing the sector sustainably.

The Ministerial Council also adopted a Policy Statement on fisheries co-Management and fisher engagement and participation, supported through a recently concluded project funded by Japan. The meeting also recognized the successful development of the fisheries using fish aggregating devices (FAD), which was supported by the Project. Although the Caribbean Fisheries Co-Management Project (CARIFICO) ended in April, the Council endorsed a call for the region to pursue continued fisheries cooperation with Japan, with which CARICOM has had a long-standing, productive relationship spanning more than two decades.

Published in Press release


BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, THURSDAY, 17 May 2018 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are expected to consider management plans for two vital fisheries, a protocol on small-scale fisheries and a policy on gender equality mainstreaming at their 12th Meeting, scheduled for Friday, 18 May 2018 in Montserrat.

At the upcoming meeting, Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment in Montserrat, will assume chairmanship of the CRFM Ministerial Council from Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture in Guyana. 

Minister Holder

Outgoing chair of the Ministerial Council, Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture, Guyana

High on the agenda are two fisheries management plans that the Ministers will be asked to approve: the Sub-Regional Fisheries Management Plan for Blackfin Tuna and the management plan for fisheries conducted using fish aggregating devices (FAD), which is a growing fishery in the region. 

The Ministers will also consider a protocol developed under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) to secure sustainable small-scale fisheries. The main objectives of the protocol are to enhance food security, improve the socioeconomic situation of fishworkers, and achieve sustainable use of fishery resources, through the promotion of a human-rights based approach.

In addition, the Ministers will discuss a regional policy aimed at mainstreaming gender equality in fisheries development, and management policies and programmes in CRFM Member States. 

Milton Haughton, the Executive Director of the CRFM, said, “The focus of this Ministerial Council meeting is on building resilience and equity in the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. The Ministers will, therefore, discuss and decide on a number of policy instruments designed to strengthen management and conservation of key fisheries and their ecosystems, and enhance governance through equity and equality, inclusiveness, and participatory planning and decision-making processes.”

The Ministerial Council will also consider a proposal to collaborate with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), to look at ways in which the region can access international support and funding to reduce ghost fishing in Caribbean waters. Ghost fishing becomes a concern when gears continue to fish after getting lost during natural disasters such as hurricanes. 

At Friday’s meeting, the Council will review progress made in implementing its earlier decisions, as well as the overall status and trends in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Advancements in fisheries research and development, the sustainable use and management of fisheries resources, aquaculture development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries, as well as capacity building and institutional strengthening will also be discussed.

The 12th Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council will serve to advance recommendations coming out of last month’s meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the technical and advisory arm of the CRFM.

Published in Press release

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, THURSDAY, 17 May 2018 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are expected to consider management plans for two vital fisheries, a protocol on small-scale fisheries and a policy on gender equality mainstreaming at their 12th Meeting, scheduled for Friday, 18 May 2018 in Montserrat.

 

At the upcoming meeting, Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment in Montserrat, will assume chairmanship of the CRFM Ministerial Council from Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture in Guyana.

 

Minister Holder

Outgoing chair of the Ministerial Council, Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture, Guyana

 

High on the agenda are two fisheries management plans that the Ministers will be asked to approve: the Sub-Regional Fisheries Management Plan for Blackfin Tuna and the management plan for fisheries conducted using fish aggregating devices (FAD), which is a growing fishery in the region.

 

The Ministers will also consider a protocol developed under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) to secure sustainable small-scale fisheries. The main objectives of the protocol are to enhance food security, improve the socioeconomic situation of fishworkers, and achieve sustainable use of fishery resources, through the promotion of a human-rights based approach.

 

In addition, the Ministers will discuss a regional policy aimed at mainstreaming gender equality in fisheries development, and management policies and programmes in CRFM Member States.

 

Milton Haughton, the Executive Director of the CRFM, said, “The focus of this Ministerial Council meeting is on building resilience and equity in the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. The Ministers will, therefore, discuss and decide on a number of policy instruments designed to strengthen management and conservation of key fisheries and their ecosystems, and enhance governance through equity and equality, inclusiveness, and participatory planning and decision-making processes.”

 

The Ministerial Council will also consider a proposal to collaborate with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), to look at ways in which the region can access international support and funding to reduce ghost fishing in Caribbean waters. Ghost fishing becomes a concern when gears continue to fish after getting lost during natural disasters such as hurricanes.

 

At Friday’s meeting, the Council will review progress made in implementing its earlier decisions, as well as the overall status and trends in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Advancements in fisheries research and development, the sustainable use and management of fisheries resources, aquaculture development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries, as well as capacity building and institutional strengthening will also be discussed.

 


The 12th Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council will serve to advance recommendations coming out of last month’s meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the technical and advisory arm of the CRFM.

Published in Press release

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, THURSDAY, 17 May 2018 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are expected to consider management plans for two vital fisheries, a protocol on small-scale fisheries and a policy on gender equality mainstreaming at their 12th Meeting, scheduled for Friday, 18 May 2018 in Montserrat.

 

At the upcoming meeting, Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment in Montserrat, will assume chairmanship of the CRFM Ministerial Council from Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture in Guyana.

 

Minister Holder

Outgoing chair of the Ministerial Council, Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture, Guyana

 

High on the agenda are two fisheries management plans that the Ministers will be asked to approve: the Sub-Regional Fisheries Management Plan for Blackfin Tuna and the management plan for fisheries conducted using fish aggregating devices (FAD), which is a growing fishery in the region.

 

The Ministers will also consider a protocol developed under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) to secure sustainable small-scale fisheries. The main objectives of the protocol are to enhance food security, improve the socioeconomic situation of fishworkers, and achieve sustainable use of fishery resources, through the promotion of a human-rights based approach.

 

In addition, the Ministers will discuss a regional policy aimed at mainstreaming gender equality in fisheries development, and management policies and programmes in CRFM Member States.

 

Milton Haughton, the Executive Director of the CRFM, said, “The focus of this Ministerial Council meeting is on building resilience and equity in the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. The Ministers will, therefore, discuss and decide on a number of policy instruments designed to strengthen management and conservation of key fisheries and their ecosystems, and enhance governance through equity and equality, inclusiveness, and participatory planning and decision-making processes.”

 

The Ministerial Council will also consider a proposal to collaborate with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), to look at ways in which the region can access international support and funding to reduce ghost fishing in Caribbean waters. Ghost fishing becomes a concern when gears continue to fish after getting lost during natural disasters such as hurricanes.

 

At Friday’s meeting, the Council will review progress made in implementing its earlier decisions, as well as the overall status and trends in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Advancements in fisheries research and development, the sustainable use and management of fisheries resources, aquaculture development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries, as well as capacity building and institutional strengthening will also be discussed.

 


The 12th Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council will serve to advance recommendations coming out of last month’s meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the technical and advisory arm of the CRFM.

Published in Press release

 

 

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Thursday, 26 April 2018 (CRFM)—At its recent annual meeting in Montserrat, the Caribbean Fisheries Forum framed a set of recommendations that will be submitted to regional policy-makers at the 12th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), slated for 18 May 2018 in Montserrat.

 

The Forum’s recommendations include measures for boosting production in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, risk insurance for fisheries, ongoing challenges to fisheries subsidies, gender mainstreaming, and the development of critical fishery management plans.

 

Members deliberated on strategies to tackle the challenges facing the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector

 

The Forum noted that the overall trend in total marine fish production of the CRFM Member States since 2005 is one of increasing production, with continued improvements over the 2015-2016 period. However, the region is a net importer of fisheries products. Latest data indicate that imports for the year 2016 totaled US$281.5 million, while exports were valued at US$256.2 million. Concerns were expressed that there are still gaps in the data and the Forum stressed the need for Member States to continue improving upon the collection and sharing of fisheries data, including trade data, in order to foster greater understanding and to strengthen management and development of the regions fisheries and aquaculture resources.

 

The Forum Meeting discussed a series of fisheries management plans, such as plans for the Blackfin Tuna and the Caribbean Billfish, as well as management plans for the use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). These regional plans are aimed at improving cooperation among countries to ensure effective conservation, management and sustainable use of the fisheries and to protect the marine ecosystems.

 

Another important regional development relates to the introduction of co-management arrangements for specific fisheries, including FADs and fish pot fisheries in the Eastern Caribbean States that participated in the Japanese-funded Caribbean Fisheries Co-management (CARIFICO) Project. The Forum reviewed the outcome of the project and future steps for continued improvements on co-management and participatory approaches to achieve sustainable and profitable fisheries in the region.

 

The Caribbean Fisheries Forum met in its 16th Session last week

 

The importance of climate change adaptation and disaster risk management plans to reduce vulnerability and improve resilience in the fisheries sector was prominent on the agenda. Among the key initiatives currently underway are the establishment of an early warning system for fishers using a mobile app, and the development of insurance policies. There are two separate insurance products being developed: one is a sovereign parametric policy which would be available for purchase by governments and the other is a basic livelihood protection policy for purchase by individual small-scale fishers.

 

The USA-sponsored Caribbean Oceans and Aquaculture Sustainability Facility (COAST) is being developed by the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility Segregated Portfolio Company (CCRIF SPC) in collaboration with the World Bank, CRFM and other partners. The COAST insurance policy is intended to serve as a platform for innovative financing to address food and livelihood security and climate change. Incentives would be given through the risk insurance policy to implement measures that contribute to sustainable and climate resilient fisheries management and disaster risk reduction.

 

The need for livelihood protection was underscored by the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean during the 2017 hurricane season. The Forum expressed its full support for the development of a protocol to incorporate climate change adaptation and disaster risk management into the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy.

 

The Forum also reviewed and supported the development of a Gender Policy for the fisheries sector, and a regional Protocol on securing sustainable small-scale fisheries for Caribbean Community fisherfolk and societies. This protocol is being developed under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy.

 

The recommendations were developed in order to protect the region’s fisheries resources from the threat of overexploitation and emerging threats such as climate change and warming oceans. They also aim to enhance the livelihoods, social welfare and wealth creation from the marine resources. According to CRFM’s Executive Director, Milton Haughton, the time has arrived for the CARICOM countries to pay more careful attention and make the investments necessary to protect and fully utilize our coastal and ocean resources for sustainable development.

 

The 16th meeting of the Forum was the first meeting of the CRFM held in Montserrat, one of the 17 Member States of the CRFM, due to the destruction of the capital city, Plymouth, by the Soufrière Hills volcano which began erupting in the mid 1990s.

 

Published in Press release
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