Belize City, Friday, 8 October 2021 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), an inter-governmental organization of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), announced this week that several of its Member States in the CARICOM region had signed The International Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry, also known as the ‘Copenhagen Declaration’. The countries simultaneously affirmed their resolute support to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and transnational organized crime in the fishing industry by supporting the Declaration and the Blue Justice Initiative. The Initiative will help to strengthen cooperation among countries and build capacity to address transnational organized crime in the global fishing industry and to combat IUU Fishing.
Speaking at a regional meeting of CARICOM Ministers responsible for Fisheries and Blue Economic Growth on Monday, 4 October 2021, Hon. Saboto S. Caesar, Chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council, and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labor, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, described the situation as “a very difficult problem,” adding that much needs to be done to tackle this growing threat that has been undermining the progress of the region.
Hon. Saboto Caesar hosts high-level Ministerial Meeting.
“Available data indicate that IUU fishing accounts for up to 30% of the total global catch, valued at several billions of US dollars…,” Minister Caesar said, adding that “There is a growing body of evidence showing that drug traffickers, human traffickers, small arms traffickers, and traders in contraband goods, among others, are using fishing as a cover to conduct their nefarious activities.”
Minister Caesar said that the CRFM Member States are very grateful for the support and leadership being provided by the Government of Norway in tackling the problem, through efforts such as the Blue Justice Initiative and the Blue Resilience Project.
“We recognize the value of the International Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the global fishing industry that was done in Copenhagen, Denmark, in October 2018. It provides a solid framework for countries like ours in the Caribbean to work together with regional and international partners to better understand the problem, share information, and build the necessary legal, regulatory, monitoring, control, surveillance, and enforcement capacity to defeat and eradicate transnational organized crime and IUU fishing," Minister Caesar said.
The CRFM Ministerial Meeting was convened during the 16th Annual Caribbean Week of Agriculture to provide an opportunity for Caribbean countries to formally express their support by signing the declaration. Even ahead of the meeting with representatives from the Government of Norway, the CARICOM Secretariat, and other regional and international development partners, CRFM Member States began to express their resounding support for the instruments, and the Ministerial Council issued a resolution after its 15th Meeting held in May 2021, setting the stage for this week’s milestones.
Member States have attested to the monumental cost of IUU fishing to the region. Hon. Audley Shaw, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaica, detailed the quantifiable cost on Jamaica’s economy, which has lost billions of Jamaica dollars in earnings as well as thousands of jobs. The devastation caused by IUU fishing forced a 2-year moratorium on the queen conch fishery, implemented from 1 February 2019 to 31 March 2021, to allow the fishery time to recover.
“As it relates to queen conch fishing, it is estimated that over the last 20 years (since the year 2000), Jamaica has lost at least US$284 million due to foreign IUU fishing,” said Minister Shaw, who provided a conservative estimate based on illegal foreign motor fishing vessels caught in Jamaican waters and an extrapolation of the estimated average rate of poaching.
“The closure of the queen conch fishery possibly resulted in annual losses of approximately US$6 million in direct export earnings and loss of jobs for some 5,500 Jamaicans. The multiplier effect, resulting from the loss of jobs and export earnings may be as much as US$20 million during the 2-year period,” Minister Shaw added.
Hon. Audley Shaw, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaica, detailed the quantifiable cost on Jamaica’s economy.
Jamaica was one of the 12 CRFM Member States which signed the Copenhagen Declaration en bloc this week and simultaneously endorsed the Blue Justice Initiative. As of Friday, 8 October 2021, 12 CRFM Member States had deposited signed instruments with the CRFM Secretariat in Belize City, Belize. Those Member States are The Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, The Turks and Caicos Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago.
"We need to continue to strengthen our collaboration, and I think we will begin to turn the tide on this very difficult issue that we are dealing with—of unlawfulness in the fishing industry and the depletion and degradation of our resources—and to sustainably use and develop these resources for the benefit of our people,” CRFM Executive Director, Mr. Milton Haughton, said, in addressing the Ministers.
Mr. Haughton added that going forward, the CRFM Secretariat will be collaborating with the UNDP and officials from Norway to organize a regional workshop involving technical officials from the Fisheries Departments and Maritime Security Agencies from Member States and Regional Institutions, to map out future needs and identify at least one high priority intervention to be supported under the Blue Justice Initiative.
“This is exciting! I want to take this opportunity to thank all the countries, the Ministers, and the Permanent Secretaries, that signed on to the declaration ... I also want to thank our colleagues from Norway, UNDP, FAO, UNODC, as well as our regional partners: CARICOM IMPACS and the Regional Security System (RSS) for the excellent support and collaboration," the CRFM Executive Director said in closing the meeting.
Belize City, Tuesday, 5 October 2021 (CRFM)—The Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) held its Eleventh Special Meeting on Monday, 4 October 2021, and approved three resolutions which together chart a strategic and robust direction for the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. The vision, which looks ahead to the year 2030, is for the effective management, conservation and sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources, to maximize social and economic benefits, such as food and nutrition security, and jobs in the CRFM Member States.
During the Eleventh Special Meeting, the Ministerial Council approved, by way of resolution, the Third CRFM Strategic Plan, 2022 – 2030. The Council directed the Caribbean Fisheries Forum (comprised of the Chief Fisheries Officers and Heads of Fisheries Departments in the 17 Member States), as well as the CRFM Secretariat and other partners to take appropriate action to develop and implement the programmes, plans and projects considered necessary to achieve the goals and objectives articulated in the Third CRFM Strategic Plan. The CRFM will collaborate closely with other stakeholders, regional and international development partners, and donors in implementing the CRFM Strategic Plan, which was prepared using a shorter, simpler, visually appealing, and illustrative format which is more user-friendly and suitable for wider dissemination to stakeholders and development partners.
Furthermore, the Ministers underscored the need for the CRFM and its Member States to significantly enhance the mobilization of financial and technical resources to support accelerated blue economic growth, particularly in respect of the living marine resources and sustainable aquaculture in the CARICOM Region. In this regard, the Ministerial Council also approved the CRFM Resource Mobilization Strategy, to also span 2022 to 2030.
The Ministers stressed the importance of giving high priority to mobilizing the financial and other resources required to implement the approved regional and national policies, and the Strategic Plan for the period 2022 to 2030, to improve food security, livelihoods, and economic and social resilience—especially considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change on the food systems and economies of Member States.
The Council agreed that both the CRFM Strategic Plan and the Resource Mobilization Strategy should be reviewed and updated regularly over the 9-year period, to ensure that they remain relevant and responsive to the changing needs and realities in the Member States.
Finally, the Ministers approved a White Paper to guide the further development and approval of the Model Fisheries Legislation for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures for the CARICOM Region. The White Paper sets out the Council’s proposals and policy position concerning the CARICOM Model SPS Fisheries legislation.
The legislation is comprised of the Draft Model Aquatic Animal Health Bill and the Draft Model Aquatic Food Safety Regulations, which are being developed with funding from the European Union. They are aimed at assuring safety and quality of fish and seafood available for domestic as well as export markets, in line with international standards, while improving the income of fishers and maximizing economic gains for the sector.
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The overall objective of the CRFM Resource Mobilization Strategy is to ensure that there is a clear, systematic, predictable, coordinated approach to soliciting, acquiring, managing, reporting, monitoring, and evaluating the use of funds and assistance received from donors and International Development Partners, and for expanding and strengthening the relationship between the CRFM and donors to ensure adequate and sustainable resources are availability to support implementation of the policies, programmes and strategic plans approved by the Ministerial Council.
These include the commitments laid down in the Agreement establishing the CRFM, The Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy and its Protocols, the CRFM Strategic Plans, and other approved regional policy documents. To achieve this, the CRFM will need sufficient, predictable and sustained contributions in the form of funds and technical assistance from Member States, bi-lateral and multi-lateral donors and regional and international development partners.
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The task to develop the Third CRFM Strategic Plan started in 2020 with an independent performance review of the CRFM. The review process was facilitated by extensive consultation and participation by Member States, development partners and stakeholders at all levels in the region. Interviews with key stakeholders were done both in-person and virtually, in collaboration with the CRFM Secretariat.
The target groups were Chief Fisheries Officers, Directors of Fisheries or Fisheries Administrator from the CRFM countries, Ministers and Permanent Secretaries / Chief Executive Officer of the respective countries, CRFM staff, fisherfolks, fishing enterprises, processors, exporters, research and academic institutions, NGOs, from CRFM countries and representatives from CRFM partner institutions.
Also, the Caribbean Fisheries Forum held four Special Meetings and the CRFM Ministerial held one Special Meetings specifically to provide oversight and guidance for the review process and preparation of the Strategic Plan. These official and informal engagements provided invaluable inputs and guidance that contributed to the elaboration and validation of the Third CRFM Strategic Plan.
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Belize City, Saturday, 2 October 2021 (CRFM)—Ministers responsible for Fisheries from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are scheduled to meet on Monday, 4 October 2021, during the 16th observance of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the new strategic direction for the fisheries and aquaculture sector, which produced fish with an estimated ex-vessel value of US$480 million in 2020, despite the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CRFM, an institution of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), will convene the meeting to advance a new strategic 9-year direction for the organization, which also considers the emerging realities being brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the growing challenges facing the sector due to climate change and its adverse impacts.
Ministers from CRFM Member States will be asked to approve the Third CRFM Strategic Plan for the period January 2022 to December 2030, as well as the complementary CRFM Resource Mobilization Strategy, which takes on a results-based approach to mobilizing much needed resources for the organization and its 17 Member States and partner organisations in the region.
Caribbean processing facilities aim to achieve international standards (Photo: CRFM)
The CRFM’s Plan addresses improved evidence-based decision making, conservation and management of the fisheries and protection of marine ecosystems, climate change and disaster risk management, and the expansion of sustainable aquaculture, including mariculture. It also promotes programmes aimed at improving the welfare and socio-economic situation of fishers and fishing communities in the region, by focusing on value addition and wealth creation, capacity building, use of technology, entrepreneurship, partnership ventures with private and public sector parties, and strengthening application of good governance principles, such as equity and equality, inclusiveness, and accountability.
Furthermore, the Ministers will be asked to review and approve a policy document supporting the drafting and approval of the Model Fisheries Legislation on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures. The Draft Model Aquatic Animal Health Bill and the Draft Model Aquatic Food Safety Regulations, developed under the EU-funded 10th Economic Development Fund (EDF) Programme, are aimed at assuring safety and quality of fish and seafood available for domestic as well as export markets, in line with international standards, while maximizing economic gains for the sector.
Belize City, Tuesday, 28 September 2021 (CRFM)— Caribbean Ministers responsible for Fisheries and Blue Economic Growth are scheduled to meet in conference on Monday, 4 October 2021, with representatives from the Government of Norway, the CARICOM Secretariat, and other regional and international development partners. The purpose of the conference, which will be convened virtually by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is to take decisive action to strengthen regional and international cooperation at the political level to combat and eradicate the scourge of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and transnational organized crime in the fisheries sector.
Some Ministers will deliver brief statements on the issues and then sign the International Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry, which has already been adopted by 36 other countries. The Caribbean Ministers will set the stage for future action across the region, in collaboration with the Blue Justice Initiative, launched by the Norwegian Government in 2019, in support of the Copenhagen Declaration. The Copenhagen Declaration and the Blue Justice Initiative provide a non-binding international framework for cooperation among States to prevent, combat and eradicate transnational organized crime in the global fishing industry.
Hon. Saboto S. Caesar, Chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council, and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labor, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, will preside over the Ministerial meeting. Minister Caesar said: “Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is a major threat to the fisheries resources of the Caribbean Region. It undermines regional and national efforts to sustainably use, manage and protect fish stocks, leading to the loss of both short and long-term social and economic opportunities—including food security, livelihoods, exports and the realization of sustainable and inclusive blue economic growth in the region.”
Mr. Milton Haughton, the Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism said: “The growing connection between illegal, unreported and unregulated (or IUU) fishing and transnational organized criminal activities—such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, arms trafficking, trade in contraband goods, tax crimes, and money laundering, which use fishing as a cover—is an area of increasing concern.”
On 10 December 2020, several Ministers responsible for Fisheries from the CARICOM / CRFM Member States participated in a virtual High-Level International Blue Justice Conference that was convened by the Government of Norway. Subsequently, in May 2021, the 15th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the CRFM, issued Resolution No. MC 15(6) of 2021 expressing support for the Copenhagen Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry and the Blue Justice Initiative. The Ministerial Council outlined the next steps, which include the upcoming high-level, virtual ministerial conference.
Following this Ministerial meeting, the CRFM plans to convene, in collaboration with UNDP, a regional technical meeting with fisheries and security officials from Member States, to map out specific needs and to agree on at least one high-priority intervention that will benefit all CRFM Member States and that could be supported under the Blue Justice Initiative.
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Note to Editors:
The Ministerial Meeting on the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Transnational Organized Crime is one of a series of Ministerial meetings which will be held during the 16th celebration of Caribbean Week of Agriculture, which will be observed virtually for the first time during the week of 4-8 October 2021, under the theme: “Transforming our Food Systems”. The CRFM will also convene the 11th Special Meeting of the Ministerial Council on Monday afternoon.
Later in the week, the CRFM will participate in several webinars being hosted during Caribbean Week of Agriculture, which takes place under the aegis of the Alliance for Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu, of which the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat is a member.
Belize City, Friday, 16 April 2021 (CRFM)— The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) today announced immediate availability of The Eastern Caribbean Flyingfish Management Plan 2020-2025 (ECFFMP 2020-2025).
“We see the ECFFMP 2020-2025 as contributing to efficient fishing activities within an economically viable and competitive small-scale fisheries sector. This should engender a comfortable standard of living for those who depend on flyingfish as a significant part of their income and culture,” said Peter A. Murray, Senior Fisheries Development and Management Advisor at the CRFM Secretariat.
A bountiful catch of the Eastern Caribbean flyingfish
Murray added that, “This ECFFMP effort is an important step in the process of putting the ecosystems approach to fisheries into practice both on land and in the sea – to truly ensure that there is fish for life.”
He informed that this iconic species of economic and cultural significance to our region is harvested by fishers using over 1,700 boats across the Eastern Caribbean.
The first Eastern Caribbean Flying Fish Fisheries Management Plan (2014-2019) was approved in May 2014 by CARICOM fisheries ministers, assembled as the CRFM’s highest decision-making body – the Ministerial Council. It marked the first time the Caribbean Community approved a Sub-regional fisheries management plan for the shared resource.
The Eastern Caribbean Flyingfish Management Plan (2020-2025), which was approved by the CRFM Ministerial Council in 2019, is an updated version of the 2014-2019 plan, driven by feedback from scientists, fishers, and fisheries officers in CRFM Member States that depend on the flyingfish fishery.
The goals of the ECFFMP are enhanced governance, stakeholder management culture, data management and adaptive management areas in the seas and islands of the CARICOM region to achieve sustainable use of the stocks.
The CRFM Secretariat developed the Eastern Caribbean Flyingfish Fishery Management Plan (2020-2025) with generous funding via the UNDP/GEF project, “Catalysing Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Management of shared Living Marine Resources in the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf (CLME+ Project)”.
The ECFFMP is intended to be used as a daily guide and handy reference by technocrats and primary stakeholders in policymaking and execution of the ecosystem approach to fisheries.
To mark the release of the plan and to foster public awareness of its purpose and promise, a limited series of not-for-sale promotional items, ranging from caps and bags to notebooks and flash drives, was also produced for distribution to a variety of stakeholders, from high school students to fishers to householders.
In addition, a companion brochure, intended to aid in the marketing of the ECFFMP, has been designed. The brochure is a fisher-friendly vehicle for communicating and promoting a new brand and logo for the ECFFMP. While technocrats – fisheries officials – form the book’s primary audience, the brochure was written and designed for larger public audiences – from fishers to high school students. The brochure reinforces the concept of the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF), which guides the fisheries management plan.
Murray said: “EAF is identified as a ‘fundamental principle’ to guide implementation of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) and is recognized in the CCCFP for the conservation and management of CARICOM’s fisheries resources.”
He explained that beyond the CARICOM/CRFM sub-region, the EAF has also gained traction as marine ecosystem-based management (EBM) incorporated into a vision for the Wider Caribbean Region. As such, CRFM Member States and stakeholder organisations, of several types and at several levels, have already expressed their commitment to EAF through both words and action.
The management plan project is being implemented in collaboration with six national focal points, the fisheries divisions of Barbados, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Although Antigua and Barbuda lacks a flyingfish fishery, its fisheries authorities have expressed an interest in keeping abreast of the ECFFMP. Therefore, they are included to a limited extent in the project.
“The commercial significance of flyingfish to the six focal point nations means that public education and awareness are essential to making the plan work for the benefit of all those who live on and from this species,” the fisheries advisor said.
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.
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, 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.