BELIZE CITY, 4 MARCH 2020 (CRFM)—A new US$46 million initiative to promote Blue Economic priorities in the Caribbean, in support of the sustainable use and conservation of the region’s vast and diverse marine ecosystems and resources, gets underway with a two-day inception workshop on 5-6 March at the Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City.
Marine ecosystems account for over 80 percent of CARICOM States and territories, supporting not just fisheries, but also tourism, ocean transportation, energy, and other economic pillars. They are also critical to the sustainable livelihoods of coastal communities and food security for markets even beyond their borders. Despite threats that confront the region—not the least of which are climate change, ocean acidification, marine pollution and irresponsible fishing—the Blue Economy model still holds great promise.
The current initiative, entitled “Blue Economy (BE): Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus (CLME+): Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus,” is a 4-year project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with a grant of US$6.2 million and co-financing of US$40.1 million. The Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) will be the lead implementing agency while FAO will be a co-implementing agency. The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will be the project executing agency. The GEF-funded “BE-CLME+ Project” will promote blue economy development in the Caribbean region through marine spatial planning and marine protected areas, the ecosystem approach to fisheries, and development of sustainable fisheries value chains.
The expected results of the project include focused climate-smart investments into national and regional marine spatial planning (MSP) efforts that inform development and implementation of national blue economy strategies. The multi-country project will also focus on extending or strengthening marine protected areas to preserve marine ecosystems and ensure sustainable livelihoods to coastal and fishery communities. The project is also expected to result in the establishment of a regional MSP for ecosystem-based fisheries, inclusive sustainable fisheries value chains, and new or expanded marine protected areas in at least five Caribbean countries. It will also support improvements in knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation, based upon knowledge and experiences from the project and experiences with climate-resilient blue economies from other regions and other Global Environment Facility (GEF) International Waters projects, in partnership with IW: LEARN (the GEF’s International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network).
The Inception Workshop, to be held on 5-6 March, will be attended by representatives of the six participating countries: Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama and Saint Lucia, as well as partner agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Development Bank of Latin America, SICA/OSPESCA, UWI-CERMES, JICA, UNDP-GEF CLME+ Project and the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisation (CNFO). Officials from the CRFM, CAF, FAO/WECAFC and the Belize Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development will address participants at the opening ceremony, to be convened at 9:00 a.m. on 5 March.
It is expected that at the conclusion of the workshop, the participating States and partners will have agreed on the main activities, milestones and timeline to develop the detailed project document and workplan for submission to the GEF for consideration by November 2020.
As part of the Caribbean Track of the Pilot Programme forClimate Resilience a series of ecological, economic and social assessmentsof climate change impacts on marine resources and the fisheries sector were undertaken between March 2018 and January 2019. This synthesis provides key conclusions arising from theassessment of (1) climate risks and ecological impacts for Caribbean marine fish stocks, (2) the economic consequences of ecosystem shifts and of increased tropical cyclone activity and (3) fisheries viability and resilience through the lens of value chains. Overall, multiple lines of evidence suggest large risk and impacts of climate variationon the Caribbean Sea’s fish stocks and fisheries. Economic assessment results suggest a large pre-existing “adaptation deficit”, as the estimated economic impacts of climate change appear smallrelative to documented lossesand damages under current climate conditions.. Research at two local fishing sites reveals opportunities to improve climate resilience across the seafood value chain by empowering resource users to self-organize and build local adaptive capacity, promoting seafood product differentiation and identifying enablers for governance effectiveness.Several improvements and extensions to the ecological and economic modelling undertaken under this project are possible and recommended; however, sufficient information from this and previous research is available to inform adaptation planning and targeted measures. Assessment results will form the basis of a communications campaign and monitoring and management recommendations undertaken as part of the project.
Click the attachment link below to download the document or view it online HERE.
It has been brought to our attention that constraints may be encountered in the submission of Proposals by physical mail, to reach the CRFM Secretariat in Belize by 8am Central Standard Time on 2 December 2019.
Against the above, kindly note the following option that can be used:
Submission of proposals by Electronic mail as follows:
All electronic submissions should reach the above email accounts by 8am Central Standard Time on 2 December 2019.
Note that hard copies of all proposals should still be sent by physical mail to the CRFM Secretariat in Belize. These should reach our office by 9 December 2019.
Title of the Request for Proposal (RfP):
Technical support to Mainstreaming Gender Equality in Fisheries in the Caribbean
Date of this RfP: 13 November 2019
Closing Date for Receipt of RfP: 8.00am Central Standard Time on 2 December 2019
RfP Reference: CLME/MGFC/01/19
SUMMARY OF THE ACTION
The purpose of this assignment is to provide technical support to mainstreaming gender equality in fisheries in the CARICOM / CRFM States. The main target countries for field activities are the CRFM Members (SIDS) involved in the flyingfish fisheries, namely, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The main deliverables expected are:
Click the attachment links for the full Request for Proposal.
CRFM has just published its latest Research Paper Collection (Volume 9) that tells us what the fisheries sector can expect from climate change – regional maps showing changes in our fish and shellfish populations, estimates of harder economic times, with less fish to catch, less money to make, and less fresh fish for the local consumer.
The scientists and advisors who guided these latest studies were on the ground in St. Lucia during 28 October – 1 November 2019 to train 14 Caribbean-based fisheries experts. The Training Workshop covered methods and tools for including climate change information into existing monitoring programmes, and for managing access and use of the information in meeting fisheries management needs.
Trainees came mostly from 5 countries and 2 regional agencies participating in the Investment Plan for the Caribbean Regional Track of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (CRT-PPCR), implemented by the Mona Office for Research and Innovation at the University of the West Indies with grant funding from the Climate Investment Fund through the Inter-American Development Bank.
The CRFM is co-implementing the marine sub-component of the Project, and the St. Lucia Workshop was part of an assignment intended to strengthen information and stakeholder knowledge about the ecological and socio-economic impacts of climate change, and to install a supporting monitoring system for maintaining the information and knowledge base. ESSA Technologies Ltd., an environmental science consulting firm based in Canada, has provided the under-pinning scientific expertise.
The training sessions were designed to build on priority areas agreed during earlier planning and technical consultation phases, and included training in a range of methods and tools, including: species distribution modelling; market fish supply-demand modelling; climate-intelligent monitoring for speaking to several “Big Questions’ that Caribbean fisheries managers would need to answer in addressing the extra challenge of climate change impacts; adaptation and marine spatial planning and decision-making, and; storage and access of data, information and knowledge products via a CRFM Portal arrangement.
By the end of the 5-day training session, the Caribbean trainees had also participated in various individual and group practice exercises that included: use of the freely available statistical software R, use of freely available geographical information system software (QGIS) for marine spatial planning applications, development of customized fisheries monitoring cards, role playing with adaptation planning scenario analyses, and use of the CRFM portal being developed for managing use of the data and information base. The training also touched on communication tools for achieving changes in behaviour of target groups.
When training ended, and participants were asked to evaluate the activity, the response was mostly a clear ‘thumbs up’. Hermione Elcock from Grenada (a project pilot country) confirmed that for the training, “Resources were relevant”, while Elizabeth Mohammed who participated as an observer from Trinidad and Tobago highlighted that the “Training approach was successful in targeting an audience of diverse knowledge, experience and skills”. Getting used to using ‘R’ presented the most challenge for trainees, but of course the training session time only allowed for an introduction to ‘R’, and follow up practice is expected.
Following the Workshop, two of the trainees shared some additional important reflections on the significance of what took place at this milestone PPCR Workshop.
Elizabeth Mohammed offered her congratulations to ESSA Technologies Ltd, the CRFM Secretariat and to the PPCR countries for delivering so comprehensively on this Project, remarking, “I am astounded at the quantity and quality of the outputs”. Ms. Mohammed went on to say that “In so far as quantifying the ecological and socio-economic impacts of climate change on fisheries at a scale that is useful for countries to make climate-resilient decisions - it is indeed the first time we have done this. We now have the basic tools and a standardized monitoring framework that will allow us to refine, repeat or upscale the analyses over time, and by this means, also to assess whether we are achieving the desired outcomes and how to adapt our strategies accordingly.”
Likewise, Junior Squire from Jamaica (a project pilot country), echoed the same sentiments and added also that “I do believe the CRFM Portal will provide the right medium to stimulate a culture change from one of hoarding to one of sharing information among Member States”.
Susan Singh-Renton, who is leading this work from the CRFM side, expressed her own satisfaction so far about the full range of work done under the present impact assessment and monitoring assignment, saying that “The CRT-PPCR has been very crucial for us in the fisheries sector to break out of a state of not knowing exactly where we are in fisheries relative to climate change impacts. When the fishermen are saying that they have to go farther and deeper to catch fish, we now have the science to prove them right and this is a game-changer!”
BELIZE CITY, FRIDAY, 4 OCTOBER 2019 (CRFM)—After several hours of deliberation at their Second Joint Meeting held in Belize on Wednesday, 2 October 2019, Fisheries Ministers from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the Organization for Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA) inked a milestone instrument. The “Declaration on CRFM-OSPESCA Cooperation for Sustainable Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources” signals their resolve to solidify the cooperation birthed at their first joint meeting held in Belize 7 years earlier, in 2012.
Among the agreed areas of cooperation are: monitoring and managing Sargassum blooms which have been adversely affecting the region since 2011; the control of invasive species, with emphasis on the Pacific lionfish; and the development of small-scale fisheries to ensure the protection of livelihoods and food security. The renewed alliance will also support the implementation of fisheries management plans for shared stocks, such as spiny lobster, queen conch and migratory pelagic species; programmes on climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries and aquaculture; as well as ocean-based fisheries and aquaculture economic activities, including value chain development.
The CRFM and OSPESCA countries have, furthermore, pledged to develop coordinated positions on international processes, such as the listing of threatened and endangered species under CITES; fisheries subsidies negotiations led by the WTO; and the UN conference to develop a legally-binding agreement on conservation, management and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Representatives from Grenada and Guatemala sign joint declaration (Photo: CRFM)
In signing the Joint Declaration, the Fisheries Ministers also approved the Second Joint CRFM-OSPESCA Action Plan (2020 to 2025), which is a 5-year roadmap to guide collaborative programmes and activities agreed in the declaration by the two sub-regional organisations.
Among the commitments made is that, “The CRFM and OSPESCA Secretariats and Member States will work together to strengthen cooperation to deter, prevent and eliminate IUU [Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated] fishing in the region.”
At the opening of the meeting, Keynote Speaker, Hon. Dr. Omar Figueroa, Belize’s Minister of State with responsibility for Fisheries, said: “IUU Fishing is undoubtedly causing damage to our fish populations in our countries, and we must continue to actively identify and implement tangible and effective actions on a bilateral or sub-regional level to curb these illicit activities.”
Prior to the meeting with OSPESCA, the CRFM Ministerial Council held its 9th Special Meeting, at which it approved the Regional Plan of Action on IUU Fishing for the Western Central Atlantic region, with a commitment to developing a CARICOM-specific Action Plan. The Jamaican delegation pointed out to their counterparts that IUU fishing recently forced them to impose a moratorium on their conch fishery, resulting in multi-million-dollar losses for the country, its export sector and fishers. Their hope is that the collaboration with OSPESCA will help to effectively prevent and deter IUU fishing in Caribbean waters.
Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM Secretariat, added that, “It is the recognition that we share a common interest and a common destiny in the sustainable use and protection of the Caribbean Sea and its living marine resources and ecosystems that inspires and underpins the partnership that is developing between the Caribbean and Central American sub-regions in fisheries and aquaculture.”
Hon. Eugene Hamilton, Chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council and Minister Responsible for Fisheries in Saint Kitts and Nevis, said: “It is predicted that 90% of the world’s fish protein will come from aquaculture by 2050.” He, consequently, urged the countries, generally regarded as small island developing states and coastal states, to work together to develop aquaculture.
Norma Lobo, General Director for the Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture, represented the Minister of Agriculture of El Salvador, Pro-Tempore Chairman of OSPESCA, at the meeting. In her brief remarks, she indicated that this was the first such meeting in which she has participated, and expressed her enthusiasm for learning more about the challenges faced by the region and, furthermore, working together to confront them.
Haughton expressed optimism that, “This growing strategic partnership between our countries, our fisheries institutions and our stakeholders in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, will yield tangible mutual benefit from our collective experience, expertise and cooperation in addressing the common challenges we face.”
The UNDP-GEF Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) Project provided financial support to facilitate the convening of the meeting in Belize City, Belize. It has also been providing support to the CRFM, OSPESCA, FAO/WECAFC, UN Environment and other regional organisations to strengthen arrangements for improved governance and management of the fisheries resources and marine environment of the region.
Ministerial delegations from Caribbean and Central American countries to discuss strategic actions for the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector
Belize City, Monday, 30 September 2019 (CRFM)—Ministerial Fisheries delegations from countries across the Caribbean and Central America will converge in Belize this week for high-level talks aimed at solidifying partnerships at the political level, as well as setting out priority areas for attention and mutual cooperation.
On Tuesday, 1 October 2019, the CRFM will convene the Ninth Special Meeting of its Ministerial Council, the chief decision-making arm of the inter-governmental CARICOM agency. A priority item on the agenda of the CRFM meeting is a regional plan of action to combat Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. The Caribbean Ministers will also discuss international issues important to Member States, such as the World Trade Organization negotiations on Fisheries Subsidies.
Following the CRFM Ministerial Meeting, on Wednesday, 2 October 2019, the CARICOM delegations will dialogue with their counterparts from Central America during their second joint high-level meeting. The first ministerial meeting of CRFM and the Organization for Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA) was hosted on 3-4 September 2012 in Belize, a member of both sub-regional organizations.
On the agenda of the upcoming CRFM- OSPESCA meeting are pressing issues that confront both sub-regions. High on the agenda are IUU fishing; climate change and disaster risk management; blue economic growth; and the sustainable use, management and conservation of key species such as queen conch, lobster, pelagic species, sharks and reef fishes.
The Fisheries sector is one of the important employers across our region (Photo: CRFM)
CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, said: “The aim of our meeting is to strengthen regional cooperation and integration initiatives to improve implementation of our respective fisheries policies and address the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; in particular, Sustainable Development Goal 14 on Oceans and Seas. We are enhancing our partnership to make progress on some of the big issues regarding sustainable development and conservation of fisheries and aquaculture in the region and in our national economies by enhancing food and nutrition security, providing jobs and livelihoods, and improving trade and resilience of fishing communities to climate change and related hazards.”
The parties – CRFM and OSPESCA – intend to update their 2012 Joint Plan of Action, setting out the specific priority areas of cooperation over the next five years. It is also expected that a Ministerial Declaration addressing areas of common interest and charting the way forward for collaborative action will be concluded and signed by participating Ministers.
Belize City, Friday, 30 August 2019 (CRFM)—The CRFM Continental Shelf Fisheries Working Group (CSWG) convened a meeting during 20-22 August in Georgetown, Guyana, to review the status and management of Atlantic Seabob (a commercially important shrimp) Fisheries of Guyana and Suriname. Both fisheries are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which means that they are recognized across the globe as sustainably managed. The MSC certification is associated with certain standards of best fisheries management practices, and places the countries in a strong position to maintain and expand trade with lucrative markets. The CRFM working group meeting supported the countries to fulfill specific technical conditions set by the MSC.
According to Rob Banning, project manager at Parlevliet & Van der Plas Group, “The meeting, under the CRFM umbrella, was unique as it brought together all relevant stakeholders (public officials, industry, NGOs and scientists) and provided a foundation for fruitful international cooperation between Guyana and Suriname.” Yolanda Babb-Echteld, of the Fisheries Department of Suriname and Chairperson of Suriname’s Seabob Working Group, echoed similar sentiments, noting further that “Suriname and Guyana share the same large marine ecosystem, and hence fisheries characteristics. Hence, the meeting allowed the two countries to learn from each other’s MSC experiences.”
The CRFM working group meeting carefully considered available data, information and knowledge on seabob biology, and on the historical development of fishing operations in order to agree on the most plausible stock assessment model for determining seabob stock status. The technical experts also gave attention to different fishing effort measures that could be applied in a Harvest Control Rule for each country’s fishery.
After finalizing these key elements, the meeting considered steps to strengthen the scientific base for management actions. On this, there was strong support for better scientific understanding of seabob’s overall ecological role, and of fishery-ecosystem/environment interactions and impacts. In terms of broadening the information base, Hanneke Vanlavieren of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) indicated that WWF’s contribution included “Creating an on-board ETP (Endangered, Threatened and Protected) species identification guide to track ETP species by-catches, training fishermen to identify ETP species, and improvement of data collection sheets for ETP by-catch.”
A widespread call was made for continued, formal collaboration between the countries, via focused annual meetings. Randy Bumbury, of Guyana’s Fisheries Department and Chairperson of Guyana’s Seabob Working Group, welcomed the call for an annual meeting, saying that “The meeting highlighted the importance of Guyana and Suriname collaborating more in the future to tackle challenges and support each other in ensuring sustainability of the seabob fisheries. This is a long term process which will achieve sustainability of these fisheries in the face of wider environmental issues such as climate change.” And Tomas Willems, Fisheries expert of FAO ReBYCII-LAC project based in Suriname, also supported the idea, saying that “Both countries now have a MSC certified seabob fishery which requires close monitoring and in which mutual exchange will be beneficial to see how to tackle certification conditions and recommendations to continue improving the fishery's sustainability.”
Among the immediate next steps agreed was for CRFM to convene an electronic Scientific Meeting on Atlantic Seabob to review the final assessment and stock status findings, and the Harvest Control Rule for industry control. Paul Medley, the international fisheries assessment expert charged with the seabob assessment modelling work, said that “This type of co-operation is laudably meeting Suriname and Guyana's responsibilities under international obligations, and sets a good example for other states in the region. The meeting would encourage further co-operation in all scientific, management and enforcement issues of mutual interest.”The Continental Shelf Working Group Meeting was chaired by CRFM’s Deputy Executive Director, Susan Singh-Renton, who reflected on the meeting’s achievements, saying “It is pleasing for the CRFM to make its contribution towards the partnership effort between Guyana and Suriname aimed at sustainable seabob trawl fisheries management and MSC certification. The target-oriented approach of the meeting allows the CRFM to re-introduce its scientific meeting in a way that meets industry needs more immediately.”
Belize City, Wednesday, 31 July 2019 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to enhance comprehensive disaster management and climate change resilience in the fisheries and aquaculture sector within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, signed the MOU for CRFM while the Executive Director of CDEMA, Ronald Jackson, signed on behalf of CDEMA. The signing took place during the Tenth General Meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United Nations (UN) System, on Wednesday, 24 July 2019, in Georgetown, Guyana.
The CRFM Executive Director said: “This MOU was prepared to facilitate enhanced cooperation between the CRFM and CDEMA, recognizing the need for effective and progressive responses to the urgent and growing threats of climate change and associated hazards, as well as the vulnerability of our fisherfolk and fishing communities which constitute a very important part of our food production system.”
CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton (right), joins Ronald Jackson, CDEMA Executive Director, in inking a Memorandum of Understanding (attached) to strengthen cooperation in disaster management and resilience (Photo: CARICOM Secretariat)
Immediate attention will be given to cooperation for sustained support for the Fisheries Early Warning and Emergency Response (FEWER) ICT Solution that had been spearheaded by the CRFM during 2017-18 in the course of the Regional Track of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), supported by the Inter-American Development Bank and The Mona Office of Research and Innovation (MORI) at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica.
Other areas of cooperation include joint project initiatives, training, capacity building and awareness activities, data and information collection and dissemination, and a support mechanism to help CARICOM countries and fishing communities prepare for and manage the threats and risks arising from manmade and natural hazards, including storms and hurricanes. The agreement also addresses post-disaster rehabilitation and recovery support for the restoration of services, infrastructure and livelihoods, as well as the restoration of the physical and ecological integrity of the affected coastal ecosystems.
In commenting on the signing, the Executive Director of CDEMA indicated that, “This represents CDEMA’s commitment to partnerships with other regional Institutions in an effort to advance resilience.” He expressed enthusiasm that CDEMA would be able to support the hosting infrastructure for the FEWER ICT Solution. Mr. Jackson furthermore pointed out this was in keeping with CDEMA’s role in advancing a comprehensive programme for Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems, as well as serving as a regional hub for warning infrastructure.
FEWER reduces fishers’ vulnerability to the impacts of climate change but also allows them to share local ecological knowledge to inform climate-smart fisheries planning and management, decision-making, as well as risk management in the fisheries sector. During 2017-18, the CRFM, IDB and UWI ICT experts worked with government authorities and fishers in Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to pilot the development of the FEWER. The CRFM-CDEMA partnership is an essential step towards sustainably rolling out FEWER to other countries.
The CRFM’s Ministerial Council had signaled its support at its 13th Regular Meeting held this June 2019 in Saint Kitts and Nevis, for the CRFM’s partnership with CDEMA, which had been developing as both CARICOM inter-governmental agencies mobilized to support to Member States in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.
In October 2018, the Council approved a protocol on climate change and disaster risk management under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, for which the CRFM has the implementation lead.
The CRFM has also been working with the CCRIF and World Bank to introduce risk insurance to protect the fisheries sector against disasters. The Caribbean Oceans and Aquaculture Sustainability Facility (COAST) Parametric insurance policy for the fisheries sector was launched at the beginning of July 2018. The policy was developed by CCRIF and the World Bank with support from the Government of the USA.
The 17 Member States of the CRFM are also members of CDEMA. They are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Republic of Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands. The Virgin Islands is the only CDEMA member that is not a member of the CRFM.
Belize City, Friday, 19 July 2019 (CRFM)— Eighteen border control officers from seven Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are currently undergoing a four-week training course in Fisheries Prosecution and Interdiction, organized by the Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS) in collaboration with the CRFM Secretariat, the Government of Barbados, and the British Royal Navy’s Fisheries Protection Squadron.
The training, being held at the Paragon Base of the Barbados Defense Force, brings together officers of the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force Coast Guard; Antigua and Barbuda Fisheries Division; Barbados Coast Guard; Royal Barbados Police Force Marine Unit; Barbados Fisheries Division; Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force; Royal Grenada Police Force Marine Unit; the St. Kitts-Nevis Defense Force Coast Guard; Royal Saint Lucia Police Force Marine Unit; and the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Coast Guard.
The course is expected to improve the skills and competencies of authorized officers responsible for enforcing the Fisheries Acts and Fisheries Regulations, and supporting administrative policies.
Participants are increasing their ability to function in an operational environment and in accordance with best practices based on the CRFM’s Prosecution and Enforcement Manuals for CARIFORUM Member States: Volume 1 – Fisheries Prosecution Manual; and Volume 2 – Fisheries Enforcement Standard Operating Procedures Manual.
These officers who have border security and fisheries prosecution responsibilities, will become more knowledgeable of the correct procedures to follow while enforcing the laws under their Fisheries Acts and Regulations. They will also become better able to prepare for trial proceedings where offences are committed in violation of the Fisheries Laws and where illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing is perpetrated. IUU fishing is a major concern for the region, since it undermines efforts to conserve and sustainably manage fisheries resources and furthermore jeopardizes food security, livelihoods, and foreign exchange earnings from fisheries.
Participants working on cases for mock trial (Photo: CRFM)
The subject matter experts who facilitated the course were drawn from the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat; the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) – Barbados; the Royal Barbados Police Force Marine Unit; Royal Navy – Fisheries Protection Squadron; the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy – Barbados; and the Regional Security System Headquarters. Successful participants will be awarded an RSS Certificate of Training for the completion of the Fisheries Prosecution and Interdiction course.
This course was jointly funded by the European Union through the 10th EDF Project and Regional Security System (RSS). The RSS is an international agreement for the defense and security of the Eastern Caribbean region. The seven member nations are: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Member States cooperate in the prevention and interdiction of trafficking in illegal narcotic drugs, in national emergencies, search and rescue, immigration control, fisheries protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, natural and other disasters, pollution control, combating threats to national security, the prevention of smuggling, and in the protection of offshore installations and exclusive economic zones. The RSS also provides training for joint land and maritime operations, disaster relief, anti-drug operations and antiterrorism, and intelligence gathering and sharing.
Delegates from CRFM Member States and CRFM Secretariat staff at theThirteenth Reguar Meeting of the Ministerial Council
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Tuesday, 18 June 2019 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers who met for two days last week in Saint Kitts and Nevis have underscored the need for the region to take urgent action to address the ongoing Sargassum scourge, as well as Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing—two of the most pressing challenges responsible for multimillion-dollar losses to the regional economy.
Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture, Health, National Health Insurance, Human Settlements, Community Development, Gender Affairs, Social Services, Land and Cooperatives, of Saint Kitts and Nevis, delivered the feature address at the official ceremony of the 13th Regular Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), opened on Thursday, 13 June 2019 at the Marriott Resort in Frigate Bay, Saint Kitts and Nevis.
I applaud all of our efforts as Member States, as we continually stress the need to establish sustainable small-scale fisheries; as we institute mechanisms for fisheries co-management; and as we promote mitigation and adaptation measures as climate change and disaster risk management responses,” Minister Hamilton said.
Later on during the proceedings, Minister Hamilton assumed chairmanship of the Council from Montserrat’s Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Honourable David Osborne. St. Lucia was elected as vice chair.
Speaking on behalf of Minister Osborne, Mrs. Eulyn Silcott-Greaves, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, of Montserrat, charged the Council to “be mindful of the challenges and complexities that we are called to mitigate—if not fully remedy—such as climate change and the increasing demand on the fisheries, aquaculture and oceans systems for goods and services.”
Honourable Eugene Hamilton of Saint Kitts and Nevis elected as chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council (left)
In his remarks to the Council, Mr. Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM, said: “We are establishing a solid foundation and a strong regional policy framework within the context of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy that should guide our actions over the next 10 to 20 years in achieving our developmental objectives in fisheries and aquaculture.” Haughton added that it is only through joint efforts that the region can resolve problems such as those associated with climate change, IUU fishing, and the Sargassum inundation.
Sargassum inundation -- seen here in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines -- continues to impact countries across the Caribbean
During Council deliberations on the Sargassum problem, Grenada’s Minister of Fisheries, Hon. Alvin Dabreo, emphasized the need for immediate measures to curb the impacts. The meeting agreed that urgent action is needed on multiple fronts to address the problem, and highlighted the need for support from international development partners.
In relation to IUU fishing, Hon. Floyd Green, Jamaica’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, spoke of the problems that Jamaica has recently been facing due to IUU fishing by vessels from countries such as Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Jamaica has had to extend the close-season for the Queen Conch fishery indefinitely, due to the adverse effects of IUU fishing on stock abundance.
The Ministerial Council “[affirmed that] IUU fishing is a major problem affecting Queen Conch fisheries in the region and highlighted the need to more aggressively pursue national and regionally coordinated action to combat IUU fishing and protect the fisheries resources, including direct engagement with the flag States of the IUU vessels and the market States where the IUU catches are exported.”
It furthermore endorsed the collective regional efforts to engage both the market States where IUU fish is sold and the IUU fishing nations for conch, lobster and other high-value species.
The Ministers considered scientific advice and recommendations from the 17th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, held in March in Saint Kitts and Nevis. This included measures to improve the resilience of fishing communities and marine ecosystems to climate change, as well as actions being taken to improve adaptation and disaster risk response. Furthermore, it deliberated upon actions needed to improve the conservation and management of fisheries resources and ecosystems; strengthen systems for evidence-based decision making; promote the blue economy; and strengthen partnerships with development partners and donors.
Before the Council Meeting, the CRFM convened the 3rd Meeting of the Ministerial Sub-Committee on the Flyingfish Fishery in the Eastern Caribbean. During that meeting, chaired by Hon. Ezekiel Joseph, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Cooperatives, of Saint Lucia, the members noted that a significant amount of work in support of conservation and management of the Eastern Caribbean Flyingfish Fishery had been done through the CLME+ Flyingfish Sub-project. The Council also signaled its support for the finalization of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Management Plan for Flyingfish in the Eastern Caribbean, 2020-2025.