The CRFM Secretariat is pleased to share the following final calls for expressions of interest under the "BE-CLME+”: Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities Through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus Project. Please feel free to share these with anyone who you believe has the desired expertise to effectively execute the consultancies.
Chairman Sen. Hon. Avinash Singh notes that the Ministerial Council is responsible for providing the policy direction for technical experts to bring the CRFM’s programs to fruition and to yield meaningful benefits for Caribbean people (Photo: CARICOM Secretariat)
Belize City, Friday, 20 October 2023 (CRFM)—The Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) recently convened its Thirteenth Special Meeting during Caribbean Week of Agriculture, held in The Bahamas. The Ministers passed 7 resolutions addressing matters such as the sustainable use of marine living resources, the need for a comprehensive independent survey of Caribbean waters to strengthen science and evidence-based decision making, as well as donor-funded projects to advance blue economic growth and the development of safe, climate-resilient products from Sargassum.
In her remarks to the Council, Dr. Carla Barnett, Secretary-General of the CARICOM Secretariat, underscored the vital importance of agriculture and regional fisheries to the Caribbean’s food and nutrition security. She also emphasized the importance of research in fisheries for developing and implementing sound policies for the management of our fisheries across the region.
“The formulation of proactive policies by CRFM has allowed us to maintain strategic partnerships throughout this [post-pandemic] period, which together with the renewed interest in fisheries and agriculture that we are experiencing, has become the impetus for the region's blue economic growth and development,” Dr. Barnett said.
In furtherance of the CRFM’s efforts to strengthen the impact of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, for which the CRFM is the Competent Agency responsible for its implementation, the Council approved a new regional protocol under the Policy on the Principle of Sustainable Use of Marine Living Resources for Blue Economic Growth and Sustainable Development of CRFM Member States.
“Our shared goal is ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future for our countries and our people from our marine living resources, through enhanced partnerships, and the application of science, technology, and innovations,” CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, said.
He added that, “The challenges we face in our endeavor to sustainably use our traditional and non-traditional living marine resources are substantial, but so too are the opportunities available to us, as well as our resolve to use these marine resources for prosperity of our people and sustainable development of our countries.”
The CRFM also convened its 4-part 20th Anniversary Seminar Series, the first of which was focused on fostering a deeper understanding of the Principle of Sustainable Use of Marine Living Resources, held on 11 October in The Bahamas. (Photo courtesy: Delmar Lanza / CRFM)
The CRFM Ministerial Council discussed innovative solutions intended to shape the future of the region’s fisheries and to safeguard the health and productivity of its marine ecosystems and marine biodiversity, and ultimately, food security, as well as the livelihoods of fishing and coastal communities—all redounding to the advancement of the Caribbean Community.
The Ministers reiterated the urgent need to secure the services of the marine Research Vessel Dr. Fridjtof Nansen to conduct a comprehensive independent survey of the living marine resources in the offshore and deep waters of the Exclusive Economic Zones and extended continental shelfs of Member States. This research would strengthen science and evidence-based decision making for policies and programmes to achieve blue economic growth and resource management through research and capacity building.
They also discussed the commencement of the US$48 million GEF-funded regional project to address blue economic growth in the region through enhanced marine spatial planning and area-based fisheries management, climate-smart sustainable seafood value chain development, and knowledge management. This initiative is being implemented by the CRFM in collaboration with the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The Ministers also reviewed the progress being made under the New Zealand-funded project to create innovative, climate-resilient products from the Sargassum seaweed—an important marine living resource that has been blooming in massive quantities and inundating the coastal waters and beaches since 2011, creating serious problems for tourism and fisheries and coastal communities. The project which is being implemented in the region by the CRFM in partnership with the New Zealand Plant and Food Research Institute, and other regional partners such as CARDI and UWI Cave Hill Campus, has made impressive gains towards developing safe and effective liquid fertilizer from the Sargassum.
Sen. Hon. Avinash Singh, Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, Trinidad and Tobago - Chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council, told fellow Ministers and heads of delegations from CRFM Member States: “As we form closer economic, political, and social ties to increase trade, investment, innovation, and cooperation, let us in these very challenging economic times, work together to achieve sustainability of our fisheries resources, maximize economic benefit and ensure food security for our people.”
Marine biodiversity conservation and sustainable fisheries management within the framework of the Blue Economy—through stakeholder inclusion and a focus on national priorities—lies at the heart of the BE:CLME+ project, with fishers reaping tangible economic benefits! (Photo: CRFM)
27 September 2023 - Belize City, Belize - A new US 48 million dollar project to strengthen the foundation for blue economic growth and sustainable development of marine living resources by focusing on marine spatial planning, area-based management, and climate-smart sustainable seafood value chain development has commenced. The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF), are partnering to implement the four-year project in the region.
This initiative titled the “BE-CLME+: Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities Through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus” project, aims to maintain and preserve cultural heritage through sustainable fisheries management, improved livelihoods, and alternative livelihoods while strengthening the integration of fisheries and ecosystem management to restore, protect and maintain marine biodiversity, productivity, and resilience of marine ecosystems.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) endorsed the Project in November 2022, including the provision of US$6.2 million for the project. The participating countries are Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, and Saint Lucia, while the partners partner organizations are CAF, FAO, CRFM, UWI-CERMES, University of Florida, which has committed co-financing of approximately US$41.7 million. The CRFM is the executive agency, while FAO and CAF are the GEF co-implementing agencies. These partners will support the governments of the participating countries in implementing the project interventions, from which benefits will be spread across the region.
The project has three main components: (i) implementing cross-sectoral marine spatial planning and area-based management tools; (ii) inclusive, climate-smart sustainable seafood value chains; and (iii) regional coordination, project management, and knowledge management.
The Inception Workshop and First Regional Steering Committee Meeting of the Project is being convened from 27-29 September 2023 in Panama City, Panama. The meetings are expected to approve several important documents including the first year's workplan and will mark the commencement of field activities under the project.
The BE:CLME+ project seeks to balance the sustainable use and conservation of the region’s marine resources with economic and social benefits for the countries and local communities through policy advice, capacity development, and knowledge sharing, food security and nutritional benefits, and increased stakeholder involvement and empowerment including women, youth, indigenous groups in the wider Blue Economy growth initiative.
We are looking for a highly motivated, goal oriented, responsible, and committed person to join our TEAM as a Project Staff to support the implementation of the BE CLME+ Project at our Headquarters in Belize City, Belize.
A Regional Project Coordinator (RPC) is needed to oversee and coordinate the implementation of the BE-CLME+ Project. He/she is responsible for the development and implementation of the project workplan and budget, and the day-to-day management of project resources and support staff. He/ She will coordinate the schedule, budget, issues and risks and make sure the project management framework is well-organized and that it runs smoothly.
Some duties and responsibilities are:
• Review reports and other products of project Consultants.
• Coordinate and actively participate in meetings with stakeholders.
• Draft technical ToRs in coordination with the Marine Spatial Planning Specialist and the Seafood Value Chain Specialist.
• Direct supervision of the Marine Spatial Planning Specialist and the Seafood Value Chain Specialist to ensure delivery of all project outcomes and outputs.
• Observe project management procedures to facilitate project implementation and ensure delivery of high-quality outcomes.
• In consultation with regional and local partners, prepare the project’s annual work plans and budget allocations.
• Facilitate communications and linkages at regional, national, and local levels.
• Doctorate or Master’s Degree or equivalent with professional experience in Project Management, Business Administration, Marine Management, Fisheries Science, Coastal Zone Management, or Marine Science, with college courses/academic level or certification in project management preferred.
• A good understanding of marine biodiversity, marine protected areas, climate change, marine spatial planning, fisheries development and management, ecosystems-approach to fisheries management, monitoring and evaluation.
DEADLINE: 22 SEPTEMBER 2023
A Marine Spatial Planning Specialist (MSPS) is needed under the Project “BE-CLME+: Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities Through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus.” The project aims to strengthen blue economy opportunities through sustainable healthy coastal and marine ecosystems, address drivers to protect habitats and species, and sustainable biodiversity and fisheries management. The project will be implemented in Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, and Saint Lucia for a period of 4 years from 2023-2027.
THE MSPS will:
• Oversee the National data gap and needs assessments to inform MSP and MSP Protocol, including the preparation of relevant Terms of Reference for associated consultancies as may be applicable (Outcome 1.1, Outcome 3.1)
• Coordinate and oversee the successful implementation of all MSP related workshops, including those addressing Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measure (OECM), and Blue Economy Strategies (Outcome 1.2, Outcome 2.1)
• Oversee the development of decision-support systems in support of MSP and Blue Economy (Outcome 1.1, Outcome 3.1)
• Lead and oversee all processes and trainings in support of potential areas for new MPAs or OECMs, and for the expansion of MPAs (Outcome 1.2)
• Responsible for the overall delivery of project results, outcomes, and indicators relevant to Marine Spatial Planning, Marine Protected Areas, and Blue Economy Strategies. (Outcome 1.1, Outcome 1.2)
• Provide direct and tangible inputs to the Knowledge Management processes of the project (Outcome 3.3)
• Contribute to preparation of the project’s progress reports and Project Implementation Reports (PIRs) by providing technical inputs (Outcome 3.2)
• Participate in the project’s Mid-Term Evaluation and Terminal Evaluation as required by the external evaluators (Outcome 3.2)
• Assist with preparation of the Terminal Report
Doctorate or Master’s Degree in Marine Management, Fisheries Science, Coastal Zone Management, or Marine Science:
• Training in Marine Spatial Planning and/or Blue Economy will be a distinctive asset
• A good understanding of biodiversity, marine protected areas, climate change, marine spatial planning, fisheries management, ecosystems-approach to fisheries management, monitoring, and evaluation
DEADLINE: 14 JULY 2023
DOWNLOAD TERMS OF REFERENCE: BECLME_Marine Spatial Planning Specialist_Terms of Reference FINAL.pdf (crfm.net)
Belize City, Friday, 28 April 2023 (CRFM)—The Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), comprised of Ministers responsible for fisheries from across the Caribbean Community, met on Thursday, 27 April 2023, to chart the way forward for the revitalization and expansion of the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector—a goal which lies at the heart of the CRFM’s observance of its 20th Anniversary this year. During Thursday’s deliberations, the Ministers approved 32 resolutions, as they reviewed progress and mapped out sustainable solutions to challenges such as fisheries management; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and fisheries crime; climate change and ocean acidification; imbalances in international trade; and Sargassum influxes which are expected to reach record levels this year. Furthermore, the Ministers provided guidance and policy direction to the CRFM Secretariat and Member States on harnessing the opportunities arising in the emerging Blue Economy, through initiatives such as a new multimillion-dollar regional project to promote blue economic growth.
Hon. Avinash Singh, Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Trinidad and Tobago, chaired the Seventeenth Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council. Trinidad and Tobago took over the reins of the Council from Hon. Parmanand Sewdien, Suriname’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, for a one-year term.
Hon. Singh acknowledged the contributions of the CRFM Secretariat in providing technical support to the Ministers during the proceedings, and for making impactful representations for Member States that benefit the entire region. He added that he looked forward to a very productive term ahead, as the CRFM continues to navigate the waters, in providing a sustainable future for the younger generations to follow.
Ministers map out sustainable solutions to challenges such as fisheries management, climate change, capacity building, imbalances in international trade, and Sargassum influxes
CARICOM countries depend on fishing for food, social welfare, employment, and much more (Photo: CRFM)
At their meeting on Thursday, the Ministers adopted the Protocol to the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy on Aquatic Foods as a Strategic Resource for Food and Nutrition Security—the third protocol adopted under the regional fisheries policy. The protocol’s objective is to recognize, promote, and support the sustainable use of fish, shellfish, marine plants and seafood as a strategic resource for food and nutrition security for the peoples of the Caribbean.
Although fish production in our region is expanding, the Caribbean is still a major importer of fish and seafood. However, CRFM’s Executive Director, Mr. Milton Haughton, noted that there are projects and initiatives being implemented that should improve availability and access to safe and affordable fish and seafood to the people of the region. He announced that a US$48 million project—the CAF/FAO/CRFM/GEF/Caribbean Blue Economy Project entitled, Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities Through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus or the BE-CLME+ Project—should commence around July 2023. The Fisheries Ministers welcomed the final approval of the Project Document by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) in November 2022, paving the way for the disbursement of funds and commencement of the project. The funding includes a US$25 million line of credit co-financed by the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) for fisheries enterprises in the private sector to upgrade their capacities and develop fisheries value chains.
Mr. Milton Haughton, Executive Director,
Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (Photo: CRFM)
The Ministers also welcomed the updates on the efforts by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism and the New Zealand Plant and Food Research (PFR), under the project entitled, Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience in the Caribbean. With support from New Zealand, technical experts in agronomy, technology, engineering and business development, the CRFM and PFR are pursuing the production of liquid fertilizers, compost, and other potential products, while ensuring that any health risks associated with doing so are eliminated through the processing of the Sargassum. Haughton noted that there is a great need for affordable fertilizers for agriculture, much of which is imported. The University of the West Indies and Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) are key partners in this initiative. The intention is to develop processes, technologies, products, and business models that can be made available to potential entrepreneurs from the region, thereby creating jobs and economic activities while mitigating the negative environmental, health and socio-economic impacts of the Sargassum seaweed.
The Ministers issued a strong resolution establishing a roadmap to strengthen measures to prevent “ghost fishing” or abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG), which is one of the most harmful forms of marine debris. Since 2018, the CRFM and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) have collaborated on prevention, mitigation, remediation, predictive modeling and capacity sharing work in the Caribbean. The CRFM Secretariat will now execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the GGGI for enhanced cooperation and coordination in addressing ghost fishing in the region.
Sargassum sampling for testing off the coast of Belize in 2021, during phase 1 of the project (Photo: CRFM)
The Ministers commended the CRFM Secretariat and international development partners for the significant work done and outputs achieved during the past programme year. This body of work included various policies developed and adopted, projects advanced, technical publications completed, training and capacity building support provided, and advances in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and fisheries crime, improving sanitary and phytosanitary systems, strengthening data and information systems, as well as significant contributions to international processes.
This included the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, which was adopted on 17 June 2022, after 21 years of talks. The Ministers urged Member States to take the necessary actions to accept and implement the agreement as soon as possible. However, they are asking Member States to consult all key stakeholders to ensure that all relevant issues are taken into account and that the full implications of the agreement are understood prior to accepting and enshrining it into national law or policies. They furthermore urged Member States to continue working with the CARICOM and CRFM Secretariats in the process of acceptance and implementation of the agreement, and also the future negotiations to address the remaining issues and gaps that could not have been addressed when the current agreement was concluded in 2022.
The Ministers also took note of the recent conclusion of international negotiations that resulted in the formulation of the UN Agreement on Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction in March 2023, and they urged Member States to take advantage of the opportunities to obtain tangible, sustainable benefits from the biodiversity in the marine areas beyond national jurisdiction.
The Fisheries Ministers welcomed the development of the Regional Strategic Framework for Cooperation between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and CARICOM Member States (2020-2026). The Ministers are asking the CRFM Secretariat to work with the IAEA, which has the largest marine lab in the world, located in Monaco, and other regional partners to facilitate and coordinate cooperation activities in fisheries management, aquaculture development, marine biodiversity conservation, ocean acidification, combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud, and other relevant areas where the expertise of IAEA can add value.
The policymakers also endorsed the Convention on Biological Diversity Global Biodiversity Framework , which was adopted by the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention in December 2022. The Convention on Biological Biodiversity is a global treaty adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. The framework sets out the global biodiversity agenda for the next decade, with the overarching goal of living in harmony with nature by 2050—a vision which the CARICOM Fisheries Ministers also endorsed.
The Council reviewed the status of a request made to FAO and reaffirmed the priority accorded to that request, for securing the services of the modern Norwegian marine survey vessel, the Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, to conduct a comprehensive survey of the marine resources in the offshore waters of CARICOM States, to support blue economic development and sustainable use of the living marine resources.
The Council is due to meet again in special session in October 2023.
– ENDS –
Belize City, Friday, 7 October 2022 (CRFM)—Fisheries Ministers from across Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) issued a formal statement at the end of their 12th Special Meeting held on Friday, 7 October 2022, announcing a year-long celebration in 2023, to observe the 20th Anniversary of the CRFM.
The celebration will showcase the vital contributions of fisheries and aquaculture to the regional and national economies, and to food and nutrition security, livelihoods, job creation, trade, and blue economic growth.
In their deliberations today, the Ministerial Council of the CRFM also took some important decisions to, among other things, advance small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in the region, in collaboration with fisherfolk organizations as well as regional and international development partners and donors.
The full Ministerial Statement on the CRFM's Anniversary celebration appears below:
Friday, 7 October 2022
The Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM)—comprised of Ministers responsible for Fisheries across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)—meeting at their 12th Special Meeting held on Friday, 7 October 2022, hereby declare that 2023 shall be observed and celebrated as the 20th Anniversary of the CRFM.
The Fisheries Ministers note that 2023 will mark 20 years since the CRFM was officially inaugurated as a specialized, inter-governmental CARICOM Regional Institution to “promote and facilitate the responsible utilization of the region's fisheries and other aquatic resources for the economic and social benefits of the current and future population of the region.”
In this regard, the Ministerial Council reaffirms its full support for the CRFM@20 Action Plan and calls upon the CRFM Secretariat, the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the CARICOM Secretariat and our regional and international development partners and donors to support its implementation.
The Ministers note that the CRFM’s 20th Anniversary campaign will focus on the CRFM’s achievements over the past two decades and inspire a fresh vision for the future of the fisheries and aquaculture sector, while seizing new opportunities for maximizing the benefits of the Blue Economy for sustainable development of our countries and the welfare of our people.
The Fisheries Ministers underscore the important value of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the regional and national economies of CARICOM, and the critical importance of its contributions towards achieving the mandate issued by the CARICOM Heads of Government at the Thirty-third Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference, to reduce the region’s food import bill by 25% by 2025.
The Ministers also emphasize the sector’s unique role in sustainably harnessing the vast and diverse wealth of the Blue Economy. This unparalleled value of the sector will be brought into focus during the CRFM’s Anniversary Celebrations, with special emphasis on sustainable livelihoods and employment, food security and nutrition, and domestic and foreign trade.
The Ministerial Council of the CRFM unreservedly reiterates its full support for all activities outlined in the CRFM@20 Action Plan, including the 3-day Scientific Conference and series of webinars on important topical issues on fisheries, aquaculture and blue economic growth which the CRFM will convene as a part of the CRFM’s 20th Anniversary celebrations, to highlight the scientific contributions of the CRFM, its Member States, and regional and international partners, to the advancement of the sector.
Belize City, Friday, 24 June 2022 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the CARICOM institution designated as the region’s intergovernmental organization responsible for fisheries development and management, is partnering with Norway, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Blue Resilience Project, to host a high-level side event addressing organized crime in the global fisheries industry at the UN Oceans Conference 2022. The side event will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, on Wednesday, 29 June.
During the high-level side event, which will highlight international and regional measures to address fisheries crime towards reducing food security threats with innovative digital tools and inter-agency capacity support, CRFM’s Executive Director, Mr. Milton Haughton, will chair a panel on CARICOM’s regional instruments to address fisheries crime. This event advances the efforts of partners to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and transnational organized crime in the fishing industry, while protecting food security, employment, and the blue economy.
Hon. Pearnel Charles, Jr, MP - Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaica; Hon. Andre Perez - Minister of the Blue Economy & Civil Aviation, Belize; and Hon. Saboto Caesar - Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry & Labour, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, will join in this discussion on fisheries enforcement and the international and regional instruments to cooperatively tackle organized crime in the global fishing industry. Also joining the panel will be Ms. Emma Witbooi, Project Manager of Blue Resilience, UNDP; and Mr. Gunnar A. Stølsvik, Specialist Director, Fisheries Department at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.
This is the first time the CRFM is collaborating with Norway to raise the profile of this issue at the UN Oceans Conference, and it serves to strengthen the alliance which began to be forged after the CRFM and its Member States endorsed the International Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry (also known as ‘the Copenhagen Declaration’) and affirmed their support for the Blue Justice Initiative. Belize, Jamaica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are among the 12 CRFM Member States which signed the Copenhagen Declaration in October 2021.
--------- End of Release---------
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Website & Registration Link:https://bluejustice.org/un-ocean-conference-2022/
Date: Wednesday, 29 June 2022
Time: 15:45-17:15 CET (equivalent to 8:45 a.m. in Belize, 9:45 a.m. in
Jamaica, and 10:45 a.m. in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.)
Follow event on the CRFM’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/CarFisheries
Belize City, Friday, 8 April 2022 (CRFM)—Several Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are participating in the 7th Meeting of Ministers in Charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), being hosted in Accra, Ghana, 5-8 April 2022.
The Ministerial Meeting, which opened on 7 April, was preceded by two days of engagements in which senior technical officials from eight (8) CRFM Member States and the Dominican Republic, joined by the Executive Director of the CRFM Secretariat in Belize, had an opportunity to collaborate with their counterparts from Africa and the Pacific region to formulate recommendations for Ministerial action. The decisions of this Ministerial Meeting of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) would form the basis for activities in its two-year workplan for the cross-regional organization.
OACPS is an organization comprised of seventy-nine (79) Member States from three (3) regional blocs: Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. It works towards sustainable development and poverty reduction within its Member States and greater integration into the world’s economy. It is against this backdrop that the organization places strong emphasis on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, while promoting a vision for the OACPS Blue Economy Agenda 2030.
Many of the items on the meeting's agenda have also been on the table at regional meetings of the CRFM. These include blue economic growth based on the marine resources; strengthening sustainable small-scale fisheries to improve livelihoods, food security and nutrition in the region; preventing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which the CRFM believes should encompass the broader issue of organized crime in the fishing industry. This region advocates for stronger international and regional cooperation as well as stronger sanctions and penalties in law to effectively deter IUU fishing and other criminal activities associated with it, including human, drugs and arms trafficking, money laundering, and seafood fraud.
The Ministers agreed to scale up sustainable and inclusive fisheries and aquaculture value chains. They also discussed and agreed to take action to strengthen ocean-based programs for adaptation and mitigation of Climate Change and ocean acidification as well as preserving maritime spaces of Member States amid receding baselines resulting from sea-level rise and coastal erosion due to changing climate.
BELIZE CITY, 3 APRIL 2020 (CRFM)—The vital need to enhance economic growth and sustainable development in the Caribbean by investing in the blue economy was the focus of a 2-day regional workshop held in Belize City, on 5-6 March 2020. The workshop was organized by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) in collaboration with the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to pave the way forward for a new US$46 million project titled, “Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities Through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus (BE: CLME+).” The CRFM, an inter-governmental CARICOM agency, is the executing agency for the 4-year project, which is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with a grant of US$6.2 million and co-financing of US$40.1 million.
Government representatives from the six participating countries--Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama and Saint Lucia—attended the workshop, while other stakeholders participated remotely via tele-conference. Workshop participants are now working together with the CRFM and co-implementing agencies, CAF and FAO, supported by a consulting team of experts in marine spatial planning, marine protected areas, fisheries value chain and gender, to prepare the detailed project document and work plan. The workshop was also attended by representatives from several regional partners such as CERMES-UWI, SICA/OSPESCA from Central America, the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations and the UNDP/GEF CLME+ Project Coordinating Unit and CLME+ SAP Interim Coordination Mechanism.
“The BE: CLME+ project aims to overcome the barriers to achieving national, climate-resilient and sustainable fisheries in blue economies in the Caribbean,” Dr. Yvette Diei Ouadi, FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Officer and Secretary of Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission, said during the project’s Inception Workshop.
Dr. Lennox Gladden, Belize’s Chief Climate Change Officer, Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, underscored the critical value of the BE: CLME+ project towards achieving sustainable economic development and improving resilience in the coastal zone, and the tourism and fisheries sectors, spurring vibrant growth and providing economic and social benefits to enhance the quality of life as envisaged in Belize’s national development policies and plans.
The project’s three components aim to ensure (i) cross-sectoral marine spatial planning; (iii) inclusive sustainable fisheries value chains; and (iii) regional coordination, project management and knowledge management. The intent is that by the end of the project, there would be marine spatial plans developed at both the regional and national levels, as well as blue economy strategies for the participating countries. Furthermore, the project will support the creation and expansion of areas that benefit from effective area-based management, such as marine management areas and marine protected areas that recognize the need for access from a range of stakeholders in a manner that reduces the risk of conflicts.
Mr. Milton Haughton, CRFM Executive Director, noted that, “Marine spatial planning is a tool to create and establish a more rational organization of the use of marine ecosystems and the interactions between their users and uses; to balance demands for economic growth and development with the need to protect the environment and to achieve social objectives in an open and planned way.”
The BE: CLME+ project is being designed by a team that is cognizant of the need for a participatory approach, sensitive to the challenges that now confront the region—ranging from climate change impacts, marine pollution and irresponsible fishing to the coronavirus COVID-19 disease. The team is committed to the need for social inclusion, participation of indigenous groups and gender mainstreaming.
Mrs. Luciana Fainstain, Executive of the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) and the Bank’s in-house Gender Specialist, acknowledged the need for the project to go beyond women’s issues, considering also the need to incorporate the new masculinities relevant to young men.
The project’s budget includes US$ 25 million in co-financing from the Development Bank of Latin America, to provide lines of credit through national financial institutions to support the development of fisheries value chains. In addition to marine spatial planning, another component of the project focuses on the development of sustainable seafood value chains, which could support innovations in utilizing current catches and discards to make more profitable products, ranging from consumer-friendly value-added seafood products for human consumption, to dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals and beauty products. The third project component focuses on knowledge management and dissemination of experiences and lessons learnt in support of the GEF-funded IW Learn Platform (https://iwlearn.net/) and CLME+ SAP.
The BE: CMLE+ participating countries are among the 32 countries and overseas territories that have endorsed the 10-year Strategic Action Programme (SAP) for the sustainable management of shared Living Marine Resources in the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+ region), which was developed under a previous GEF-funded project.
Mr. Haughton expressed gratitude to the countries and key partners which have been supporting the initiative and emphasized the need for continued strong partnerships and cooperation among all stakeholders in realizing the potential of the marine sector in the Caribbean.