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.
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 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.
Representatives from CRFM Member States meet to refine draft protocol for climate change adaptation and DRM in Fisheries
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, THURSDAY, 19 April 2018 (CRFM)—Fisheries officials from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are meeting on Wednesday, 18 April 2018, at the Montserrat Cultural Centre to review and validate the Draft Protocol to Integrate Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries and Aquaculture into the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy.
Also attending the one-day meeting are experts from non-government stakeholders in fisheries/aquaculture, climate change and disaster risk management. They include the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO), and regional and international organisations such as the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
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); and implemented by FAO. It is under this umbrella that the new initiative is being implemented for the benefit of the CARICOM States.
Leslie John Walling, a regional consultant who specializes in Coastal Resources Assessment and Management, Disaster Risk Reduction Planning, and Climate Change Adaptation Planning, was engaged by the CRFM to assist with the development of the new protocol.
The CRFM wants to ensure that the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) can effectively direct the development of a regional fishery sector that is resilient to a changing climate and enhanced through comprehensive disaster management, and the sustainable use of marine, aquatic, and terrestrial resources.
Through this new protocol, measures will be incorporated into the Common Fisheries Policy to reduce vulnerability to climate change and disasters such as hurricanes and to increase resilience of fishing communities and the fisheries sector to the threats arising.
Working together, the countries can more effectively and comprehensively define and implement measures required to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience throughout the aquaculture and fisheries value chains. This will, in turn, afford stronger protection of fishing communities, increased food security and the more secure livelihoods of persons who depend on fisheries and aquaculture.
The regional protocol to integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries and aquaculture into the CCCFP will also address issues related to production, processing, marketing and trading of fishery and aquaculture products. Catastrophic events can disrupt the fisheries value chain; however, effective strategies can help to ensure that the sector bounces back as quickly as possible.
The Protocol will apply within national waters but also onboard vessels on the High Seas which fly the flags of participating states and wherever participating states have jurisdiction.
It will be consistent with both the regional Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Strategy and Framework 2014-2024, and the Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change, 2011-2021.
After the technical experts from the Member Countries and partner agencies weigh in on the document at their meeting in Montserrat, the draft protocol will be refined for presentation to Caribbean ministers responsible for fisheries and aquaculture – the Ministerial Council of the CRFM, which sets fisheries policy for our region.
The parties intend to meet regularly, using the existing CRFM governance mechanism, to review the protocol and its implementation across CARICOM.
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Friday, 13 April 2018 (CRFM)—Once a year, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), an inter-governmental organization established to promote and facilitate the responsible use of the region's fisheries resources, convenes a meeting of heads of national fisheries authorities from its 17 Member States. This year, that group of the Caribbean technical experts who make up the Caribbean Fisheries Forum will meet for two days in Montserrat.
The CRFM will convene the 16th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum on Monday, 16 April and Tuesday, 17 April 2018 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre in Little Bay, Montserrat. International and regional partner organizations, observers and stakeholders from the fisheries and aquaculture sector have also been invited to the event, organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Lands Housing and the Environment (MATHLE) in Montserrat.
Speakers at the opening ceremony will include Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, and Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM. Ms. Avery Galbraith-Smikle, Director of the Aquaculture Branch of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Jamaica, will also address the gathering.
Jamaica, which hosted last year’s meeting of the Fisheries Forum, will hand over the chairmanship of the Forum at the upcoming meeting. A vice chair and members of the CRFM’s Executive Committee will also be picked for the new programme year, which began at the start of this month.
Participants will receive an update on the progress of programmes, projects and activities being undertaken by the CRFM and prepare recommendations to be presented to the CRFM’s Ministerial Council when it meets on 18 May 2018 in Montserrat.
Among the areas listed for discussion by the Forum are management plans for key fisheries, co-management of fisheries involving stakeholders and government officials, cooperation with regional and international partners to improve management and sustainable use of marine resources; adaptation to climate change and disaster risk management in fisheries, and measures to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, among others.
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. On Wednesday, 18 April, the CRFM will also convene a regional workshop to review the Draft Protocol, which it aims to have ready before the hurricane season starts on June 1.
CRFM is teaming up again with the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP) to hold a second value chain workshop, hoping to open doors to greater industry engagement than ever before and ultimately to maximize value from the fisheries resources harvested in the region.
At the invitation of the UNU-FTP, a CRFM team of three experts, Sharon Hutchinson from the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension at the University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus, Tullia Ible, Principal of the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute (CFTDI) and Susan Singh-Renton, Deputy Executive Director of the CRFM Secretariat, joined their counterparts in Iceland on 26 February to discuss and plan a second Value Chain Workshop that is expected to take place towards the end of May 2018 in Trinidad and Tobago - the first Workshop was held in July 2016 in Suriname and was lauded a success in building value chain management awareness for senior fisheries officers in July 2016.
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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.
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)
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.
The CRFM is developing a Model Disaster Preparedness and Risk Management Plan for the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector for CRFM Member States. This has emerged out of a necessity to have a framework that would advise regional partners on the measures to be taken in order to be better prepared, prevent and minimize loss, damage, destruction and death arising from hazards such as severe hydrometeorological events, tsunamis and oil spills. The Model Plan will enhance the Caribbean’s ability to manage all disasters at a regional and national level, with special emphasis on the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Wednesday, 24 January 2018 (CRFM)—Seven Caribbean countries are participating in a recently launched series of subprojects which the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is leading under a sustainable management initiative for the flyingfish fishery.
In highlighting the importance of the initiative, CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, said: “We in the region are utilizing a common space and common living marine resource; therefore, we need to cooperatively manage these common interests. One of these common interests is the flyingfish fishery, and the governance framework developed for the flyingfish fishery could be scaled up and applied to other fisheries in the region.”
The CRFM, the agency which provides fisheries-related advice and recommendations at the CARICOM level, initiated 6 sub-projects during 2017 to implement the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) for the management of the four-wing flyingfish in the Eastern Caribbean. This species of economic and cultural significance to our region is harvested by over 1,700 boats across the Eastern Caribbean countries and in Martinique.
The sub-projects are being implemented in the focal countries of Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago, plus the French Overseas Territories of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
The sub-projects, intended to support the long-term sustainability of the flyingfish, are part of the project funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Environment Facility (GEF) titled, Catalyzing Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Management of Shared Living Marine Resources in the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (the CLME+ Project). The project aims to strengthen governance of the living marine resources by addressing habitat degradation, pollution, unsustainable fishing, inter-sectoral coordination, and management regimes for various fishery types, such as reef, continental shelf and pelagic fisheries.
The CRFM 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. The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) in Trinidad and Tobago and Nexus Coastal Resource Management (Nexus) in Halifax, Canada, are leading the remaining three sub-projects.
Blue Earth Consultants will work with stakeholders and officials in the focal countries at both technical and political levels until the subprojects conclude in mid-2019. The team is taking a participatory approach to gaining feedback and it will lead a consultative process to updating the Eastern Caribbean Flyingfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The FMP provides context and guidance for the management of the Eastern Caribbean region’s flyingfish fishery, developed through a process of extensive research, regional cooperation, collaboration, and stakeholder consultation. Endorsed for regional implementation in 2014, the plan was the first of its kind to have been sanctioned by the Ministerial Council of the CRFM, consistent with the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy.
Under this initiative, a sub-regional data policy will be developed to provide guidelines on how countries and Overseas Territories participating in the flyingfish fishery will collect and share data. The current status of flyingfish fishery data collection will be investigated and legal and drafting support will be provided by the consultants to develop template regulations for countries to implement. New recommendations will also be developed on vessel licensing arrangements and a census will be conducted on existing fishing vessels used to target the flyingfish.
The initiative will support improved cooperation between the 17 CRFM Member States and France on the management and conservation of shared living marine resources. Regional cooperation is vital to the sub-projects, given that flyingfish are a migratory species fished by six CRFM countries and the French Territories. Therefore, the project is developing a cooperation agreement for the CRFM States and France, based on stakeholder and expert inputs.
Throughout the course of the three sub-projects to be led by Blue Earth, information products will be developed and shared with stakeholders and the public to increase understanding of the flyingfish fishery and the sub-project outcomes.
The CLME+ Project was catalyzed by a US$12.5 million grant from the GEF, matched by government, multi-lateral and other funding for a total of more than US$146 million.
The CLME+ Project was catalyzed by a US$12.5 million grant from the GEF, matched by government, multi-lateral and other funding for a total of more than US$146 million.
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Friday, 8 December 2017 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and its partners at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently held a wrap-up meeting in St. Lucia at which the outcomes of the novel Caribbean Fisheries Co-Management Project (CARIFICO) were unveiled. The most important benefits underscored are better catches and improved incomes for fishers who began using Fish Aggregating Devices or FADs. These were designed, constructed, deployed and managed in a cooperative manner by the fishers themselves in collaboration with government officials and with support from the Japanese experts.
Fishers from the pilot countries attended the meeting in St. Lucia and shared how the project has positively impacted them. Fisheries officials from the CARICOM countries, except for Bahamas and Belize, also attended. International partners from JICA, fisheries experts deployed in the region and officials from JICA headquarters in Japan, as well as representatives from the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisation, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and the University of Florida were also present.
CRFM Executive Director Milton Haughton said that he is impressed with the progress made in introducing co-management approaches in specific fisheries, as well as the level of investment of fishers in the process. Fishers have formed new fisherfolk organizations which are actively participating in the development and management of the target fisheries as a result of the CARIFICO project. Through the project, Governments in the 6 pilot countries are sharing more authority and responsibility for fisheries development and management with stakeholders by improving relations and communications, and promoting increased participation by them in decision-making in fisheries.
“They have seen significant social and economic benefits from working together and operating around the FADs. The fishers have been involved in the construction and deployment of the fishing gear, as well as developing rules to regulate activities around the FADs and collecting and fisheries data. This is a tangible example of what fishers can achieve by collaborating with each other and with the government,” Haughton said.
The Project Manager of the pilot project in Grenada, Mr. Toby Francis Calliste, said that they have learned a lot from the CARIFICO project. He noted that the fishing communities of Grenada have realized tremendous benefits through the co-management arrangement. The CARIFICO project has transformed the fishing industry in Grenville and by extension in Grenada, said Calliste, who presented on the impacts of the project in Grenada.
Dominican representatives said that fishers in that country embrace the important benefits of the FAD program. They add that the Roseau Complex fishers now exercise greater compliance with FAD management practices. They hope that with the sustained deployment of public FADs, user conflict will be reduced.
The CARIFICO-CRFM Joint Statement on Fisheries Co-Management, which is to be tabled at the April 2018 meeting of Fisheries Ministers from CRFM Member States, envisions the way forward. It addresses four areas: Support for Implementation of Co-management; Training in Support of Co-management; Co-management to Address Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management; and Public Education and Awareness.
The statement is intended to solidify the support of CRFM Member States for the implementation of the recommendations of the CARIFICO Project and the advancement of co-management, as well as improved fisheries governance in the Caribbean. This should include legal and institutional reforms, training and capacity development, public education and awareness building, and empowerment of fishers’ organizations and fishing communities.
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Wednesday, 29 November 2017 (CRFM)—An innovative fisheries project which the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has been coordinating since 2013 in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) across six OECS Member States is nearing its end.
The Caribbean Fisheries Co-Management Project (CARIFICO) was developed in 2012. Between 2009 and 2012, CRFM and JICA worked on developing a masterplan for the sustainable use of fisheries resources for coastal communities in the Caribbean. The CARIFICO project is a follow up project recommended by the master plan. The overall goal of the project is developing and implementing fisheries co-management approaches in six pilot countries in the Eastern Caribbean and disseminating and sharing the experiences and knowledge acquired to the other CARICOM States. The pilot project field work was done in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The CRFM and JICA will convene a two-day meeting on 30 November – 1 December 2017 to review the project outcomes as well as chart the way forward. The CARIFICO-CRFM Regional Seminar on Strengthening Fisheries Co-management in the Region will take place at the Bay Gardens Resort in Castries, St. Lucia.
An opening ceremony will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, 30 November. Hon. Herod Stanislas, St. Lucia's Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Cooperatives, is billed to deliver the keynote address. Also scheduled to speak at the event are CRFM Executive Director - Milton Haughton; Permanent Secretary in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Natural Resources and Cooperatives in Saint Lucia - John Calixte; Director of JICA’s Rural Development Department - Ichiro Mimura; and the Chief Fisheries Officer in Saint Lucia - Sarita Williams-Peter.
Haughton said that CARIFICO was established roughly 5 years ago. Japan, which is very advanced in fisheries co-management and conservation, is supporting the initiative to transfer knowledge and build capacity in co-management in the Caribbean region, Haughton explained. Co-management is a governance system where responsibility for resource management is shared between the government and resource users, in this case, local fishers and their communities.
One emphasis of the project was demonstrating and testing co-management approaches by promoting the development and management of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) for harvesting tunas and other pelagic species. In Dominica, where most of the FADs were deployed, fisheries production increased significantly.
The project also tested co-management approaches in addressing ghost fishing by lost fish pots through the introduction of biodegradable panels in the pots.
This is vital since ghost fishing is a problem, especially when fishing gears get lost amid natural disasters. The problem is that drifting gear can keep snagging fish and other marine life. The adverse impact is mitigated by making the gears biodegradable, allowing them to self-destruct.
Over the course of the two-day meeting, presenters will detail what the project has achieved in strengthening co-management for the use of biodegradable fish pots, FADs for the pelagic fishery, and the conch fisheries. They will also discuss opportunities to strengthen co-management of the Caribbean’s offshore FAD fisheries.
The CARIFICO-CRFM Joint Statement on Fisheries Co-Management will also be developed, leading up to a discussion on the future direction of fisheries co-management. The statement, which will be refined at the meeting, details what the partners plan to achieve next in fulfillment of their mutual objectives. The finalized document is to be tabled at the April 2018 meeting of Fisheries Ministers from CRFM Member States who make up the organization’s Ministerial Council.
A team of experts from Japan did the final evaluation of the CARIFICO Project between August and November this year. The results from that final evaluation will be presented at the meeting.