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.
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.
Belize City, 19 February 2015 (CRFM): The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is holding its first regional meeting for 2015 this week on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The CRFM is hosting the 24th Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, one of its advisory arms, from Thursday, 19 February to Friday, 20 February 2015 at the CRFM’s Secretariat Conference Room, located on the 3rd floor of Corea’s Building on Halifax Street in Kingstown.
Dominica currently chairs the Executive Committee of the Forum, and Grenada sits as the vice chair. The other countries represented on the 6-member Committee are Jamaica, Guyana, Montserrat and Barbados (the immediate past chair).
The Committee holds inter-sessional meetings twice a year between sittings of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, which has representation from all CRFM States. The next meeting of the Forum is due to be held at the end of March in Grenada.
At its upcoming meeting, the Executive Committee will advance discussions on the management of the region’s key fisheries, and it will also review relevant research data for the industry. In order to help ensure the sustainability of this vital pillar of the Caribbean economy, the CRFM continues to promote cost-effective measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. These measures will be among the strategies discussed at the upcoming meeting.
The country representatives will also discuss the plan of action for the implementation for the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP), and they will review the approved CRFM biennial work plan for the period 2014-16, which is approaching its first year of completion on 31 March 2015.