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Belize City, Friday, 20 October 2017 (CRFM)—Several Caribbean countries have been recently devastated by two catastrophic hurricanes, Irma and Maria, underscoring the need for Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) to press forward with risk insurance for the fisheries sector—being developed by the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility Segregated Portfolio Company (CCRIF SPC, formerly known as the CCRIF) in collaboration with the World Bank. This initiative to develop risk insurance for the fisheries sector in CARICOM States is supported by the United States government under the Caribbean Ocean and Aquaculture Sustainability Facility (COAST).

At the 7th Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council, hosted in Georgetown, Guyana, on 5th October 2017, policy-makers underscored the need for CARICOM Member States to move ahead with adopting risk insurance that would enable the fisheries sector and fishers to bounce back more quickly after a hurricane strikes. So far, there has been no payout provided specifically for the rehabilitation and recovery of the fisheries sector, although there have been other payouts under the broader umbrella of the CCRIF scheme. Since its establishment in 2007, the CCRIF SPC has made payouts of a little more than US$100 million to 12 of its 17 member countries – all within 14 days of the disaster event.

“Having such an insurance scheme is one of the good things we can do to help fishers get back on their feet as soon as possible after a disaster,” said CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton.

The development and implementation of the livelihood protection policy for individual small-scale operators and the sovereign parametric policy for States that the CCRIF SPC is working on, now assumes greater urgency for the sector, the CRFM Executive Director underscored.

Haughton expresses the hope that in light of the destruction and devastation which the recent hurricanes have caused in CRFM Member States such as Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Haiti, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Turks and Caicos, that all parties will redouble their efforts to get the risk insurance facilities for the sector established as soon as possible and certainly before the next hurricane season. He said that the insurance policies are being designed to provide quick relief to those fishers who experience distress as a result of disasters such as hurricanes.

A report published by the Fisheries Division of Antigua and Barbuda in September, titled ‘HURRICANE IRMA – PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ASSESSMENT FOR ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA’S FISHERIES SECTOR,” said: “In terms of the impact Hurricane Irma had on fishers and their families, considering the role the sector plays with respect to employment, food security and as a ‘safety-net’ for other economic activities (i.e., occupational pluralism), a total of 778 individuals were affected including 193 fishers and 585 financial dependents… This accounted for 25.5% of the population of Barbuda (1,800) (i.e., one in every four persons) and 0.3% of the population of Antigua (91,440).”

The report notes that there were 37 boats, over 2,000 fish traps, and 17 gill nets destroyed. An aquaponics facility at which fish and vegetables are farmed together suffered minor damage and damages were also reported to some fisheries facilities, such as wharves and public buildings.

The CRFM Secretariat is currently developing a model Disaster Management Plan for the Fisheries Sector of the region to facilitate adequate preparation by stakeholders before disaster events and to ensure speedy, coordinated assessment and recovery efforts after such events.

 

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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