(L-R) Mr Sookram Ali, Ministry of Land and Marine Resources; Ambassador YoshimasaTezuka (Japan); Honourable JairamSeemungal, Minister of Land and Marine Resources; Mr Milton Haughton, Executive Director, CRFM; Ms Christine Chan A Shing, Director of Fisheries, Land and Marine Resources
4 December, 2014 - Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (CRFM): The CARICOM-Japan relationsbegan in 1993 when the first consultation was held between the parties. Today the benefits of this friendship are evidenced by the number of cooperative initiatives and projects in the region covering a wide range of areas that have helped the Governments and peoples of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Japan.
Senior fisheries experts,fisheries departments, other government officials, private sector representatives and regional development partners of Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and Japan are meeting in Trinidad and Tobago at a two-day workshop hosted by the CRFM, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago.
The HonourableJairamSeemungal, Minister of Land and Marine Resources, Trinidad and Tobago told the regional gathering to make use of the two day to discuss and “make recommendations as a way forward as appropriate to making the fisheries sector a sustainable one in the region.”
Minister Seemungal elaborated on Trinidad and Tobago’s benefits from the support from the Government of Japan through the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), a Technical Co-operation Programme at the national level, ‘The Regional Fisheries Training Project’ from 1996 to 2001 enhanced: the technical standard of training personnel at the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute (CFTDI); the training arm of the Ministry of Land and Marine Resources. The Project focused on providing equipment to the CFTDI; training nationals in Japan in specific fields and dispatching Japaneseexperts to Trinidad to provide technical assistance”, said Minister Seemungal.
Minister added, “The Project for the Promotion of Sustainable Marine Fisheries Resource Utilisation from 2001-2006 in Trinidad and Tobago allowed for a number of assessments of commercially important fish species, analyses of alternative gear design and identification of a number of recommendations for continued management of the specific fishery resources. It proposed the possible introduction of specific environmentally friendly fishing gears, recommended the increased use of under- utilized fish species for consumption and developed management recommendations for specific commercial fish species in Trinidad and Tobago”.
Ambassador YoshimasaTezuka for Japan in Trinidad and Tobago reiterated his country’s commitment to the sustainable development of the fisheries in the Caribbean. He said, “the Caribbean and Japan share many similarities, from islands being surrounded by water to being vulnerable to hurricanes. Both Japan and the Caribbean can learn and share best practices and exchange expertise, toward making our countries socio-economic and environmentally resilient.” He added, “That the 20 years of CARICOM-Japan Friendship Year 2014 is a momentous time for both Caribbean and Japan to harness deeper relations.”
Mr Milton Haughton, Executive Director, CRFM in his remarks said, “Fisheries and sustainable use of marine resources is just one of the several areas of cooperation. We are therefore very grateful for this opportunity to convey our sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Japan, to reaffirm the high esteem with which we hold our relationship with Japan, and also to explore possibilities to deepen and strengthen cooperation in areas of common interest in future”.
Mr Haughton added, “over the past 20 years Japan has emerged as the major contributor of development assistance for the fisheries sector at the bilateral level within the Caribbean. Japan has been providing vital and substantial support in upgrading and improving the artisanal fishing fleet; fishing ports and other shore based infrastructure for storage, processing and marketing of fish; as well as provision of training in gear technology, processing and quality assurance, resource management and conservation of fisheries.”
Japan is currently providing funding and technical assistance to CARICOM statesby way of The Caribbean Fisheries Co-management Project (CARIFICO), the objective of which is to develop and strengthen co-management approachesin the fisheries sector.
“The fact that Japan has been willing and steadfast in contributing so generously to promote sustainable use of marine resources in the CARICOM countries, even in these challenging economic times, is in my opinion, a true reflection of the special bond of friendship and importance that Japan attaches to our relationship,” Haughton added.
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CRFM Executive Director