ROSEAU, Dominica, April 24 (CRFM) – Developing a better strategy for international relations on fisheries issues - despite scarce finances - was one of the main talking points as the Caribbean fishing community's technical and scientific decision-making body, the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, continued meeting here Thursday.
Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Executive Director, Milton Haughton told delegates that limited resources made it challenging for the region to participate in the several rounds of discussions including the UN General Assembly’s Annual Resolution on Sustainable Fisheries, Oceans and Law of the Sea, The Food and Agriculture Organization Committee on Fisheries and the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Fisheries Subsidies negotiations.
“The question is, are there ways that we can utilise the available technology now to overcome, to surmount some of these hurdles that have in the past hindered us from being as effective as we could be in intervening in the discussions to protect our interests?” Haughton queried.
A refined and structured strategy for international fisheries negotiations was important in giving the Caribbean a voice in the global dialogue as it relates to trade and facilitation, he added.
“At this level we are talking about policy development, we’re talking about the development of international instruments and there are significant benefits to be derived because policies are made, priorities are established and then resources flow in support of those objectives and priorities that are established and if we are not part of the discussion priority, if our needs are not part of the priorities then we’re left out in the cold.”
Information technology also allows the delegates to contact directly with stakeholders in the Caribbean fishing industry to give accurate information and perspectives on issues directly affecting them.
“These things end up having real effect on our economies and our people and the prospects for employment, the prospects for trading … so these are important things,” he said.
The CRFM head said his organisation will be reaching out more to our representatives and international bodies in New York, Geneva and Brussels, where information will be shared and form the basis of negotiating briefs.
During day one of deliberations on Wednesday, a new executive committee for the Caribbean Fisheries Forum was elected – Dominica now holds the post of Chairman, Grenada is the Vice Chair while Jamaica, Guyana and Montserrat are executive members.
The annual forum, organised by the Belize-based CRFM, the main coordinator of fisheries management in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), ends Friday.
ABOUT THE CRFM
Based in Belize, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) was established in 2003. It is the core of a complex interactive network of a wide variety of stakeholders in fisheries. Three bodies together make up the Mechanism. These are: a ministerial body, a Fisheries Forum (the main technical and scientific decision-making body) and a Fisheries Technical Unit or Secretariat.
CRFM promotes the sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources in and among Member States, by developing, managing and conserving these resources in collaboration with stakeholders to benefit the people of the Caribbean region.
Its membership includes all CARICOM countries, as full members. Other countries and territories in the Caribbean may join the Mechanism as Associate Members.