Tuesday, 09 January 2024 14:11

CRFM Staff Vacancy: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

 

Applications are invited from interested and suitably qualified nationals of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States and Associate Members to fill the abovementioned position in the CRFM with assigned duty station in Belize City, Belize. Applicants should be no older than 56 years of age.

The deadline for the submission of applications is 8 March 2024. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted to arrange interviews.

 To view full details, click here.

 

CRFM-ED

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in CRFM News
Wednesday, 20 December 2023 16:18

Closing Message from Executive Director

The CRFM hereby announces the official close of the Twentieth Anniversary Celebrations! Below is a special message from our Executive Director, Milton Haughton, as we bid farewell to a very memorable year! All the best, from the CRFM Secretariat!

Thank you for sharing our special year with us

Published in Press release

CARDI greenhouse trials with Sargassum-derived organic fertilizer - photo - Milton Haughton - CRFM

Greenhouse trial with liquid organic fertilizer derived from Sargassum (Photo: M. Haughton, CRFM)

Belize City, Thursday, 7 December 2023 (CRFM)—Groundbreaking work has begun in the Caribbean to produce Sargassum-derived liquid fertilizers or plant growth promoters, as well as an organic compost from processed Sargassum, for eventual incorporation into farmer and grower practices in the Caribbean. The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), an inter-governmental organization of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and Plant & Food Research, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute, are leading this initiative, under the Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience in the Caribbean Project, a multiyear project funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

This builds on work undertaken by the CRFM since 2015, to address the persistent problem of recurring Sargassum inundations which have been plaguing the region for the past 12 years. Sargassum blooms continue to adversely affect the coastal ecosystems and economic sectors—such as fisheries and tourism—in many Caribbean countries, and clean-up efforts have been costly. Although Sargassum levels have fluctuated from year to year, the general forecast is for continued high levels of blooms and beaching of Sargassum in the foreseeable future. Climate change and nutrient enrichment of the oceans have been identified as major contributing factors to this phenomenon which has been affecting our region since 2011.

Saint Lucia - Sargassum on fishing beach - photo - Milton Haughton - CRFM

Sargassum inundation across a fishing beach on the island of Saint Lucia (Photo: M. Haughton, CRFM)

 

“Sargassum is a natural marine living resource that has been abundant in our coastal waters. It is often an unpleasant sight on our otherwise picturesque beaches, and rotting Sargassum heaps are hazardous to humans and marine life and environmental health. We must, therefore, find ways to use the Sargassum while neutralizing any potential negative effects of the heavy metals contained therein. The safe and profitable conversion of Sargassum biomass into innovative products to adapt to climate change and bolster economic resilience will also generate tangible economic and social benefits for local communities and present and future generations across the entire Caribbean,” said Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM.

The first phase of the project, which focused on testing the Sargassum to better understand how to handle and use it safely, was completed in 2022. This second phase, which commenced early 2023, focuses on product and process development. In May 2023, the CRFM concluded agreements with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Cave Hill Campus, and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), which are providing technical support for joint research and surveys to advance the second phase of the project. During this phase, the project will develop and evaluate liquid fertilizers and compost from Sargassum. The hope is that this initiative will help to protect the marine environment and coastal communities, and create jobs and value-added products, while contributing towards the reduction of the region’s high import bill for fertilizers used by farmers.

There are two very important guiding principles of this project. The first is the application of the precautionary principle which ensures that when there is uncertainty and a risk of harm, we should act with care and caution, guided by the best available scientific information. The second principle encompasses the circular economy approach, which ensures total utilization of the Sargassum to eliminate waste and pollution, which is good for people, business, and the environment. The Sargassum harvested from the sea will, therefore, be used to produce fertilizer, and the residue will be utilized to generate other products such as compost and building materials—all of which will be safe and effective for their intended purposes.

UWI has assisted with the process of producing liquid fertilizers from the Sargassum. CARDI has been conducting a survey of farmers to engender a deeper understanding of how they use fertilizers and their interest in a fertilizer product from Sargassum. This knowledge will enhance strategies to promote the uptake of the Sargassum-derived products for use in the agriculture sector.

CARDI is now completing a study to evaluate the performance of the liquid fertilizers developed with the assistance of UWI on crops under greenhouse conditions. Further studies will be conducted in the field with the assistance of farmers.

Since the commencement of the Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience Project in 2020, the CRFM and Plant & Food Research of New Zealand have worked with partners in Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic, and with specialized laboratories in the United States and New Zealand, to conduct Sargassum raw material safety testing and to review potential products that could be made from the Sargassum.

The final phase of the project, which is due to commence in 2024, will focus on the establishment of a pilot plant to produce liquid organic fertilizer, as well as on outreach and supply chain development, which would entail the dissemination of a workable model to industry stakeholders in the Caribbean. Through continued stakeholder engagement, the project will also gather feedback to guide future work, strengthen relationships with Caribbean enterprises, and develop sustainable pathways for the commercialisation of new Sargassum products.

– ENDS –


RESOURCES:

 

In case you missed it, here is the recording of our recent seminar on Sargassum Value Chain Development.

 

Published in Press release

The CRFM is seeking a suitably qualified Belizean to serve as PROJECT ASSISTANT for the Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience Project.

The Project Assistant will play a strong supporting role to the Executive Director in the planning, management, implementation, scheduling, monitoring, coordinating activities and reporting on the project. While he/she will constantly seek advice and direction from the Executive Director and Programme Manager, Fisheries Management and Development, he/she must have the knowledge, skills and maturity to work independently to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the position.

Duties and responsibilities include:

• Help to coordinate involvement of project team members, partner organizations, Member States and other service providers to achieve project objectives;

• Monitor and ensure effective collaboration, consultation and exchange of information and good communication among project partners, stakeholders and collaborators;

• Prepare and manage progress reports, schedules, and financial reports and budgets;

• Help with preparation of contracts and monitors progress of consultants and stakeholders involved in project implementation;

• Carry out administrative duties by collecting data, sorting, filing and sending out project information to project partners, stakeholders in the countries and collaborators.

Application deadline: 15 December 2023


View full details here.


Published in Press release

Belize City, Friday, 8 September 2023 (CRFM and GGGI)Ghost gear—also known as abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear or ALDFG—continues to pose a significant threat to the fisheries and aquaculture sector, and it is also a major source of aquatic pollution, threatening aquatic species and environments, as well as food security both in the Caribbean and globally. To address this problem, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding today, Friday, 8 September 2023, as a part of their collaborative efforts to combat the growing negative impacts of ALDFG across the Caribbean. The agreement formalizes the partnership between the CRFM and GGGI which began in 2018.

The MoU—signed during the CRFM webinar on Understanding and tackling abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gear in the Caribbean, convened earlier today as a part of the CRFM’s 20th Anniversary Technical Events Series—satisfies a mandate from CARICOM Ministers responsible for Fisheries and Aquaculture, who passed a resolution on the prevention of ALDFG in CRFM Member States, when they met in regular session in April 2023. On that occasion, the CRFM Ministerial Council also commissioned the CRFM Secretariat to conclude this MoU with the GGGI, to further their work to address ghost fishing.

Haughton and Bazuik

 

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, said: “This is a significant milestone on our journey towards the sustainable use of the region’s living marine resources and ensuring that the vast wealth lying beneath the Caribbean Sea yields optimal benefits for our present and future generations. The signing of this MoU between the CRFM and the GGGI establishes a very important partnership to enhance cooperation in raising awareness and taking appropriate action towards prevention, mitigation, and remediation measures in addressing ghost fishing in CRFM Member States. The signing of the MoU furthermore bolsters the support being provided to the 17 CRFM Member States through the GGGI.”

Mr. Joel Baziuk, Associate Director, Global Ghost Gear Initiative, said: “We are very pleased to be moving this collaboration forward with the CRFM via the signing of this MoU. With the support of the CRFM, the GGGI has been working with several Member States to address ALDFG since 2019, including Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, and Trinidad and Tobago. The work that the CRFM has done for fisheries sustainability across the board in the Caribbean cannot be overstated, and we are looking forward to working together more formally to tackle ALDFG throughout the region.

The ghost gear problem—which is a global challenge—is being exacerbated in the context of climate change, ocean acidification, and marine pollution, causing increased adverse impacts on the marine environment and fish stocks. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and transnational organized crime in the fishing industry—a significant source of abandoned, lost, and otherwise discarded fishing gear—compound the problem.

However, notable advancements have already been made through the CRFM-GGGI cooperation to date. In 2022, the CRFM collaborated with the GGGI and the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) to develop a Caribbean Regional Action Plan to Prevent ALDFG. The parties also collaborated on surveys of fishers and other stakeholders, which indicated that ALDFG is widespread in the Caribbean. Traps and nets are the most prevalent and most harmful forms of ALDFG, according to the GGGI Best Practice Framework for the Management of Fishing Gear.

The CRFM was established by Heads of Government in 2002, as an intergovernmental organization of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), vested with the responsibility to address, promote and facilitate the development, management and conservation of fisheries in the CARICOM region through promoting the sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources in and among Member States.

Established in 2015, the GGGI, led by Ocean Conservancy, is the leading global platform for addressing the problem of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear, and it consists of 136 participant organizations from around the world, with the official support of 20 governments, joined by the Caribbean countries which now support the initiative through the CRFM. 


Cover photo: 'Ghost gear' or ALDFG is not just a problem in the Caribbean but globally. In this photo, GGGI facilitated the removal of 'ghost gear' in Panama. (Photo credit: GGGI - Joel Baziuk)

Published in Press release

 

Belize City, Sunday, 27 August 2023 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will host a regional Scientific Conference of 130 authors and speakers from the Caribbean and internationally, who will present on 9 thematic areas of high interest to the fisheries and aquaculture sector. The virtual event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled to commence on Monday, 28 August at 8:30 a.m. Central Standard Time or 10:30 a.m. Eastern Caribbean Time.

 

Dr. Carla Barnett, Secretary-General, CARICOM Secretariat, will deliver opening remarks, while Dr. Renata Clarke, Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, will present the Feature Address. Other Opening Ceremony speakers include Sen. Hon. Avinash Singh, Chair of the Ministerial Council of the CRFM and Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Trinidad and Tobago; Ms. Shandira Ankiah, Acting Director of Fisheries, Fisheries Division, Trinidad and Tobago and Chair of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum; Mr. Milton Haughton, Executive Director, CRFM Secretariat; and Dr. Sandra Grant, Deputy Executive Director, CRFM Secretariat. Mr. Zojindra Arjune, Pastor and Deputy Director, Fisheries Management, Suriname, will offer the invocation.

ShandirazojindraDr. BarnettMinister Singh

Mr HaughtonDr ClarkeDr Grant

 The goal of this e-conference is to showcase the collective work done over the past two decades, since the establishment of the CRFM by CARICOM Heads of Government in 2002, while providing a space for networking, information exchange, and dialogue on a range of important topics. The thematic areas are fisheries and food security in the region; legal, policy and institutional frameworks for fisheries; data and science for sustainable fisheries development and management; capacity building in fisheries; aquaculture and marine science; fisheries conservation and management; climate change, ocean acidification, disaster risk management and recovery in fisheries and aquaculture; international and regional cooperation and partnerships; and the future of the CRFM in blue economic growth in the region.

 

The Scientific Conference will run for 4 days, and the final session on Thursday, 31 August, will feature national reports from the 17 CRFM Member States of the CRFM on the Status of their fisheries and aquaculture industries.

 

The CRFM is an intergovernmental organization of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) whose Member States are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

For more information on the conference, please access the Conference webpage here.

Download the News Release in Word or PDF format.

 

Published in Press release

Belize City, Tuesday, 21 February 2023 (CRFM)—Sargassum seaweed influxes have been a bane to the Caribbean since 2011, but the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and Plant & Food Research (PFR), a New Zealand government-owned Crown Research Institute, are advancing a regional project aimed at turning Sargassum into innovative products that will create jobs and income as well as contribute to building the region’s climate resilience and mitigating the negative impacts of Sargassum in the region. During 2023, the CRFM and Plant & Food Research —in partnership with other public and private sector institutions in the Caribbean region—will focus on lab-scale work and field trials to develop suitable prototype products from the Sargassum seaweed for commercial use.

A team from the CRFM Secretariat and Plant & Food Research recently visited Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados to meet with key stakeholders as they advance the second phase of the project titled, Developing Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience in the Caribbean.

Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM said: “Sargassum remains a major problem for our countries, coastal communities, and business enterprises, especially those in the fisheries and tourism sectors operating in the coastal and marine environment. We had a very productive mission to Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago meeting with partners and stakeholders with an interest in creating value-added products from the Sargassum. We are very confident that we can work together with interested partners to develop viable products and generate jobs and income streams for our people from this natural resource (Sargassum) that has been inundating our waters and beaches over the past 12 years. Our focus now is on developing and testing these prototype products and processes using the Sargassum. We will also be developing a product commercialization strategy.”

 

Representatives of CRFM and PFR

CRFM Executive Director, Mr. Milton Haughton (right),

Rosie Paterson-Lima, International Development Program Manager at Plant & Food Research (center),

and Beverley Sutherland, Project Coordinator (left)

 

 

Rosie Paterson-Lima, International Development Program Manager at Plant & Food Research, said her organisation’s involvement was made possible by funding from the New Zealand Government International Development Cooperation Programme.

“It is exciting for us to work in partnership in the region on this challenge, and to bring our expertise in agronomy, value chain analysis, and commercialisation. Together our goal is to minimise the problems caused by Sargassum by creating viable economic opportunities for the region. We are delighted to have Barbadian Dr Terrell Thompson joining the project delivery team recently as a consultant. Dr Thompson is a chemicals and materials engineer with impressive expertise and experience in the Sargassum industry,” Paterson-Lima said.

The mission spanned 30 January to 11 February 2023. In Trinidad and Tobago, the team met representatives of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI), the Engineering Faculty of the University of the West Indies, the Association of Caribbean States, the Caribbean Private Sector Organisation (CPSO), and representatives of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. In Barbados, the parties met with officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries Division, and the National Conservation Commission of the Government of Barbados, UWI - Cave Hill Campus, the European Union, CARDI, UNDP, FAO, the Fisherfolk Organisations and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology. The purpose of these engagements was to share information on the Project and to explore opportunities for collaboration and strengthened partnerships under the project.

The CRFM and Plant & Food Research have successfully completed the first phase of the project, during which they worked with partners in Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic to conduct Sargassum raw material safety testing and review of potential products that could be made from the Sargassum. They are embarking now on the second phase of the project, which is Product and Process Development.

 

Fishers in Barbados are among stakeholders who have been adversely affected by the Sargassum influxes

Fishers in Barbados are among stakeholders who have been adversely affected by the Sargassum influxes

 

 

Sargassum blooms in the Atlantic have already begun, and they are expected to inundate the Caribbean region by April 2023. The Outlook of 2023 Sargassum blooms in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, released by the University of South Florida Optical Oceanography Lab on 1 February 2023, revealed that, “The overall Sargassum quantity in the Atlantic Ocean doubled from December 2022 to January 2023 (8.7 million tons), again setting a new record (previous January record was 6.5 million tons in 2018).” The outlook noted that this is the second consecutive monthly doubling of Sargassum, previously observed only in 2018, and all indications are that the Sargassum biomass will continue to accumulate and migrate westward over the next several months. Climate change has been identified as one of the major contributing factors to this phenomenon which has been affecting our region—and principally our coastal fishing communities—for the past 12 years.

 

Sargassum inundation defaces coastline of Saint Lucia fishing community June 2022

Sargassum inundation defaces coastline of Saint Lucia fishing community (June 2022)

 

The CRFM-Plant & Food Research collaboration will identify and use appropriate sustainable technologies for efficient harvesting of Sargassum, according to international best practices. The final phase is outreach and supply chain development, which would entail the dissemination of a model to industry stakeholders and wider Caribbean.

– ENDS –

 


 

RESOURCES:

Project Brochure

 Explainer Video

 Photos

 

 

Published in Press release

 


Over the past 20 years, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism has played a leading role in addressing fisheries issues and priorities on the international stage. Here, three CRFM policymakers (Ministers from Belize, Jamaica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) partnered with the Minister of Fisheries of Norway to boldly address the challenge of Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) Fishing and Transnational Organized Crime in the global fishing industry. The CRFM partnered with Norway in hosting a side event at the 2022 UN Ocean Conference. Photo: Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries

 

 

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:

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT ON THE CELEBRATION OF THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CARIBBEAN REGIONAL FISHERIES MECHANISM

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.

 

- ENDS -

Published in Press release

"Climate change and ocean acidification pose significant threats to fish production on top of the many other pressures, such as overfishing, habitat degradation, pollution and invasive speciesall undermining our food and nutrition security..."

-- Mr. Milton Haughton, CRFM Excecutive Director

 

Published Thursday, 4 August 2022 by the CRFM Secretariat

 

The Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Mr. Milton Haughton, has underscored the need for access to financing and technology in addressing the threats which climate change pose to Caribbean fisheries and aquaculture. In addressing the Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week 2022 (LACCW) side event in July on Anticipating climate risks and preventing disaster: climate resilient development pathways in Latin America and the Caribbean, he emphasized the need to build partnerships as well as capacity at the local and community levels. He also spoke of the need to pursue an integrated approach to implementing and mainstreaming the best practices developed over the years to improve resilience and empower coastal communities.

Mr. Haughton expressed concern that adverse climate change impacts will inevitably result in reduced availability of fish for local consumption and exportcompounding the threats that already confront the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

"Climate change and ocean acidification pose significant threats to fish production on top of the many other pressures, such as overfishing, habitat degradation, pollution and invasive speciesall undermining our food and nutrition security," he stated.

The CRFM Executive Director also stressed the need for CRFM Member States to take the whole-of-government approach, rather than a siloed approach to combating these myriad challenges and threats arising from climate change. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has placed a high priority on supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as disaster risk management across the Community. In this regard, in 2005, the CARICOM Heads of Government established the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). The CRFM maintains a close partnership with the CCCCC as well as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), in addressing adaptation to climate change and disaster risk management in the fisheries sector. Furthermore, the CRFM works closely with several other key partners, including Member States, donors, local civil society and NGOs, to develop and implement best practices.

In 2018, the CRFM’s policy-makers, the Ministerial Council, adopted the Protocol on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries and Aquaculture, an important protocol to the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) which promotes cooperation and collaboration among Caribbean people, fishers and governments in conserving, managing, and sustainably using fisheries and related ecosystems, as well as improving the welfare and livelihood of fisherfolk in the region. Another key instrument is the CRFM’s Regional Strategy and Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries and Aquaculture (2020-2030) .

Mr. Haughton noted that at the national level, several CRFM Member States have developed climate change policies and strategies, providing a roadmap at the national level to address the problems arising from climate change.

 

SVG-Fisheries-receive-equipment-climate-resilience

Fisherfolk in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines received equipment obtained through the CRFM Secretariat under the CIF/IDB Pilot Program for Climate Resilience - Caribbean Regional Track.

 

He also highlighted several projects that the CRFM has been involved with, which address the issue of climate change. These include the Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean Fisheries Sector Project (CC4FISH) and the Caribbean Fisheries Co-management Project (CARIFICO), which promoted the development and deployment of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) capable of withstanding category 5 hurricanes, thereby reducing damaging impacts to the environment, including ghost fishing.

The CRFM was also integrally involved in the IDB Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) - Caribbean Regional Track, which was funded by the Climate Investment Fund (CIF). The CRFM Secretariat coordinated the marine sub-component of the Regional Project, which was executed by the Mona Office for Research and Innovation (MORI) at the University of West Indies, Jamaica. The CRFM coordinated the development and testing of the Fisher Early Warning and Emergency Response (FEWER) Moobile App in collaboration with UWI. The CRFM is partnering with CDEMA, in an effort to expand the reach and uptake of this tool and scale up its benefits across the region.

The CRFM’s collaborative work has extended to the mainstreaming of the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF)a very important parametric insurance arrangement to help counter the impacts of adverse weather events and other natural disasters affecting the fisheries sectorand the roll-out of the Caribbean Ocean and Aquaculture Sustainability Facility (COAST)–an innovative climate risk insurance mechanism to promote food security; livelihoods of fisherfolk; resilient fisheries; sustainable management of coastal infrastructure; and disaster risk reduction in the Caribbean.

The CRFM has also supported the expansion of the Caribbean’s Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) Network , through which stations have been installed in some Caribbean countries with support from the CCCCC.

The most recent initiative of the CRFM is being implemented in partnership with the Government of New Zealand through Plant and Food Research Limited. The Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience Project seeks to turn the large swaths of Sargassum seaweed that have been inundating Caribbean beaches and coastal waters annually since 2011, into commercially viable products that would provide new opportunities for enterprise, livelihoods, employment and economic growth.

To access the body of CRFM documentation on climate change adaptation and disaster risk management, visit the CRFM Portal . You can also register to become a member of the portal.

 

#CaribbeanFisheries #climatechange #LACCW #CRFM

 

  © 2022 Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism

Published in Press release

 

CRFM Member States highlight Caribbean Instruments and new Norway collaboration to address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry

 

Published Thursday, 4 August 2022 by the CRFM Secretariat

 

Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported Fishing (also called IUU Fishing) has been on the radar of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and its seventeen (17)  Member States for more than a decade. The commitment of the CRFM and its Member States to address this very challenging and persistent problem has been unwavering, and the timeline below features the major milestones attained over the past 12 years–the most recent of which is the CRFM’s support of the International Declaration against Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry (also known as the Copenhagen Declaration) and the Norwegian supported Blue Justice Initiative. 

These provide an international framework which complements the Caribbean framework, developed under the auspices of the CRFM, guided at the policy level by its Ministerial Council. 

At a side event at the UN Ocean Conference, held in Lisbon, Portugal on 29 June 2022, the CRFM co-hosted a panel with the Blue Justice Secretariat, Norway and the Blue Justice Initiative on Caribbean and international efforts and mechanisms for combating IUU fishing and transnational organized crime in the global fishing industry.

 CRFM and Norway Collaborators at UN Ocean Conference Side Event Jun 2022

 

"It is a very difficult problem that requires enhanced regional and international cooperation and collaboration to effectively eradicate."

 - Dr. Gavin Bellamy, CRFM Representative (Jamaica)


 

Dr. Gavin Bellamy, Chief Executive Officer, National Fisheries Authority, Government of Jamaica, affirmed that “...governments [in the Caribbean Community - CARICOM] have accorded high priority to combating fisheries crime in the region. It is a very difficult problem that requires enhanced regional and international cooperation and collaboration to effectively eradicate.”

Dr. Gavin Bellamy

Dr. Gavin Bellamy

Photo courtesy: Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Government of Norway

 

He said that, “The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has been coordinating regional efforts to prevent, deter, and eradicate IUU fishing and crimes in the fisheries sector.” He added that despite the progress made, there was still a long way yet to go.

H.E. Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran, Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Government of Norway, describes IUU fishing and transnational organized crime in the global fishing industry as a threat to our common future. He cautioned that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be attained unless this problem is addressed.

"Through the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism in CARICOM, no less than 12 [Caribbean] countries have decided to join the [Copenhagen] Declaration… In May 2021, the Caribbean ministers started with a resolution endorsing the Copenhagen Declaration and pledging support for the Blue Justice Initiative as frameworks for regional and international cooperation to combat organized crime in the fishing industry,” H.E. Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran said.

 Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran-2

H.E. Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran

Photo courtesy: Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Government of Norway 

 

The Caribbean countries are among 48 signatories to the declaration, which was first endorsed in 2018. Since then, Norway–which hosts the secretariat for the Copenhagen Declaration and the Blue Justice Initiative–has led the charge in supporting international efforts to implement the declaration. Its partnership with the CRFM and its Member States took root at Our Ocean Conference in 2019–when the the Blue Justice Initiative was launched–and since then, the CRFM and Norway have continued to partner to address this global problem.

 CRFM-signatories-to-the-Copenhagen-Declaration

Map © 2022 CRFM

 

 

Mr. Gunnar A. Stølsvik-2

Mr. Gunnar A. Stølsvik

Image: CRFM

 

Mr. Gunnar A. Stølsvik, Specialist Director, Fisheries Department at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, said that the Copenhagen Declaration is a political statement and not a legally binding instrument. He added that the declaration recognizes the relevance of the entire fisheries value chain: from capture, to handling and processing, through to sale and the financing of operations.

“To build a [sustainable] blue economy, you have to make sure that the shadow blue economy does not occupy too much of a big space in that economy,” he said.

 

FOCUS ON CARIBBEAN ACTION TO ADDRESS IUU FISHING AND ORGANISED CRIME IN THE FISHING SECTOR

Caribbean Action Timeline on IUU Fishing and TNOC-2022

 

JAMAICA

"There is no simple, no single, no short-term solution to IUU fishing… or to the related organized crime and the networks focusing their commitment and efforts in keeping… the status quo,” said Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, MP - Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, The Government of Jamaica. He added that successful responses will require a holistic and integrated approach where policies are linked to the drivers of IUU fishing.”

 Hon. Pearnel Charles-2

Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, MP

Photo courtesy: Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Government of Norway

 

Minister Charles proposed that Jamaica could serve as the regional Blue Justice hub for the Caribbean, and that the sub-regional office for the Blue Justice Initiative could be established in that country.

He said that support within the region and beyond is required to assure success, including independent action by States, bilateral action by adjacent states, and multilateral action by all parties involved in the fight.

The Minister outlined some key actions by Jamaica:

  • Commence implementation of a vessel monitoring system for industrial fleet, with the intent to roll out to the small-scale / artisanal fleet;

  • Strengthening geospatial capacities, including the development of coastal radar mapping capabilities; and the staff of the National Fisheries Authority joining the Blue Justice Initiative and gaining access through secure log-ins to collaborate with others regionally and globally;

  • Advancing efforts to accede to the Port State Measures Agreement, which the Minister said can act as a deterrent by denying services to vessels found to be involved in IUU fishing;

  • Strengthening enforcement capacity through investments in resources for patrol and maritime surveillance;

  • Adopting regional and international arrangements and implementing agreed measures that are consistent with international law.

 

Minister Charles noted the devastating toll that IUU fishing has had on Jamaica, as well as the world. He said that the scourge of poaching, especially by foreigners, “has caused Jamaica billions of dollars in lost earnings and has prevented thousands of Jamaicans from accessing gainful employment.” He said that Jamaica has suffered annual losses of $6 million in direct export earnings and 5,500 jobs, which has had a multiplier effect on families. The country had put in place a 2-year moratorium on the Queen Conch fishery due to poaching, primarily foreigners. 

According to Minister Charles, it is estimated that catches from IUU fishing constitute more than 30% of reported catches, but for some species, IUU fishing may account for up to 3 times the permitted amount.

"The devastating impact of IUU fishing results in overexploitation and the eventual collapse of important fisheries, thereby exacerbating poverty and threatening the livelihoods of the most vulnerable citizens in our country,” the Minister said.

 

BELIZE

Hon. Andre Perez - Minister of the Blue Economy & Civil Aviation, Government of Belize, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impacts on our economies and the increasing threats to our resources by climate change and climate variability make the fight against IUU fishing even more urgent and critical.”

 Hon. Andre Perez-2

Hon. Andre Perez

Photo courtesy: Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Government of Norway

 

Minister Perez said that it is crucial to adopt new and modern tools in the monitoring and control of the region’s small-scale fishing fleet. He said that Belize–which up to 2022 had declared 11.3% of its marine space as no-take high biodiversity zones–is  one of the few countries that are piloting the use of mobile transceivers on the fishing fleet as a means of combating IUU fishing.

He added that the Belize Fisheries Department and co-managers of marine protected areas had adopted the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) to enhance enforcement in national waters.

Other initiatives which the Belize Minister highlighted are:

  • Enacting a new Fisheries Resources Act in 2020;

  • Establishing the Blue Bond Conservation Agreement in 2021, which supports enhanced monitoring against IUU fishing;

  • Signing the Copenhagen Declaration in 2021;

 

Minister Perez said that the Copenhagen Declaration of 2018 complements the Castries (St. Lucia) Declaration on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, previously signed by members of the CRFM Ministerial Council back in 2010. He also noted other instruments to which Belize had ascribed, including the 2019-2021 Regional Plan of Action on IUU Fishing (RPOA-IUU) for countries that are members of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC), as well as the 2018 Strategy to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate IUU fishing in the territorial waters of the Central America region, formulated under the auspices of the Organization of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector of the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA). With respect to Belize’s recently enacted domestic fisheries legislation, Minister Perez said that in addition to including high fines and penalties intended to serve as a deterrent against IUU fishing, it also has provisions similar to the Lacey Act of the USA which sets out penalties for violations of laws in other states.

 

SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

Our oceans have been a major crime scene… and we must pledge and recommit our efforts to act globally in solidarity, so that we can ensure that we bring an end to IUU fishing in our world,” said Hon. Saboto Caesar - Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry & Labour, Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

 Hon. Saboto Caesar-2

Hon. Saboto Caesar

Photo courtesy: Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Government of Norway

  

"I want to send a very clear message to every Member State of the United Nations: for meaningful change to take place, it first begins with a clear expression of the political will to bring about change, and sadly there are still some Member States of the United Nations that have not yet expressed that political will in a way that will benefit the thrust and the effort of others in the fight against IUU fishing,” Minister Caesar stated.

Measures highlighted include:

  • Early adoption of the Port State Measures Agreement and other international agreements;

  • Government spending dedicated to building the capacity of the Coast Guard and to acquire the technical resources needed for monitoring its waters;

  • Banning the harvesting of marine turtles and moving to set both upper and lower size limits for certain species;

  • Advocating against the finning of sharks.

 

Minister Caesar stressed the need for resource mobilization to address IUU fishing and transnational organized crime. He said that bilateral and multilateral platforms and in-country budgets must be mobilized to address the matter.

 


 

CRFM MOVING AHEAD WITH ITS MANDATE

 

Dr. Emma Witbooi - Project Manager, Blue Resilience, The United Nations Development Program, reaffirmed their commitment and partnership. She noted that the UNDP has facilitated country-led Blue Action Dialogues which focus on fostering dialogue and cooperation between institutions and agencies that work to tackle fisheries crime. 

 
Dr. Emma Witbooi

Dr. Emma Witbooi

 Image: CRFM

 “We are delighted to be embarking on the process of working together with various CRFM and CARICOM Member States in initiating these dialogues,” said Dr. Witbooi, reiterating the gratitude of the UNDP for the very fruitful collaboration with the CRFM and CARICOM.

Mr. Joseph Cox, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, lauded the efforts of the CRFM to synergize with the Government of Norway and other partners, through the Blue Justice Initiative to address the challenges arising from IUU fishing and transnational organized crime in the industry. He noted that Article 60 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas–an article dedicated entirely to fisheries management–commits the Member States of the Community to collaborate with each other in the ongoing surveillance of their Exclusive Economic Zone.

Mr. Joseph Cox-2

Mr. Joseph Cox

Image: CRFM

  

To this end, the Caribbean Community has invested in institutions such as the CRFM and CARICOM IMPACS [The Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security] to both improve our collective management of our living marine resources and to bolster regional capacity in security matters,” Mr. Cox said.

“It is clear that a high level of commitment is present. CARICOM leaders have paved the [way] for effective cooperation, sustainable capacity building… in improving the safety of the Caribbean Sea, and the protection and safety of our hardworking fishers and our fisheries industries across Member States,” he added.


 

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 © 2022 Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism

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