Marine biodiversity conservation and sustainable fisheries management within the framework of the Blue Economy—through stakeholder inclusion and a focus on national priorities—lies at the heart of the BE:CLME+ project, with fishers reaping tangible economic benefits! (Photo: CRFM)
27 September 2023 - Belize City, Belize - A new US 48 million dollar project to strengthen the foundation for blue economic growth and sustainable development of marine living resources by focusing on marine spatial planning, area-based management, and climate-smart sustainable seafood value chain development has commenced. The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF), are partnering to implement the four-year project in the region.
This initiative titled the “BE-CLME+: Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities Through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus” project, aims to maintain and preserve cultural heritage through sustainable fisheries management, improved livelihoods, and alternative livelihoods while strengthening the integration of fisheries and ecosystem management to restore, protect and maintain marine biodiversity, productivity, and resilience of marine ecosystems.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) endorsed the Project in November 2022, including the provision of US$6.2 million for the project. The participating countries are Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, and Saint Lucia, while the partners partner organizations are CAF, FAO, CRFM, UWI-CERMES, University of Florida, which has committed co-financing of approximately US$41.7 million. The CRFM is the executive agency, while FAO and CAF are the GEF co-implementing agencies. These partners will support the governments of the participating countries in implementing the project interventions, from which benefits will be spread across the region.
The project has three main components: (i) implementing cross-sectoral marine spatial planning and area-based management tools; (ii) inclusive, climate-smart sustainable seafood value chains; and (iii) regional coordination, project management, and knowledge management.
The Inception Workshop and First Regional Steering Committee Meeting of the Project is being convened from 27-29 September 2023 in Panama City, Panama. The meetings are expected to approve several important documents including the first year's workplan and will mark the commencement of field activities under the project.
The BE:CLME+ project seeks to balance the sustainable use and conservation of the region’s marine resources with economic and social benefits for the countries and local communities through policy advice, capacity development, and knowledge sharing, food security and nutritional benefits, and increased stakeholder involvement and empowerment including women, youth, indigenous groups in the wider Blue Economy growth initiative.
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.
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)
Belize City, Monday, 28 August 2023 (CRFM)—The 20th Anniversary Scientific Conference of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) opened on Monday to over 200 attendees from across the Caribbean and internationally. The need for innovation and data-driven management decisions for the fisheries and aquaculture sector, as well as the vital importance of building resilience in the face of climate change and other adversities were the common threads of both the official remarks delivered by speakers as well as the 17 presentations delivered during this first day of the conference.
Mr. Milton Haughton, Executive Director, Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism
CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, said: “We are very proud to host this Conference which will highlight the importance of science, knowledge, innovation and international best practices as the basis of our actions and policies to ensure responsible development, management and conservation of our marine living resources and aquaculture, as well as sustainable future economic growth based on our ocean resources.”
Dr. Carla Barnett, Secretary-General, CARICOM Secretariat
Dr. Carla Barnett, Secretary-General, CARICOM Secretariat, who delivered opening remarks, noted that, “Engagements at this week's conference will provide a space for information exchange and dialogue on a range of topics of strategic importance to CARICOM. These include food security; legislation and policy; sustainable use and conservation; data, science and research; capacity building; technology transfer; and blue economic growth… We need to stay on the cutting edge of innovation, better understand the complexity of our marine ecosystems, and enhance their economic and social contribution to our communities and countries that depend on them. The health of the coastal and marine ecosystems and the wellbeing of our people are integrally connected.”
"The call of our leaders is for transformation—transformation that is urgent and ambitious. So while there is plenty for which CRFM should be congratulated, this is not the moment for resting on one's laurels but to recommit with unwavering determination to forge a path that positions our region as a true leader globally in sustainable fisheries development,” said Dr. Renata Clarke, Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in her Feature Address.
Dr. Renata Clarke, Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
She pointed to estimates that climate change could precipitate a yearly fish value (annual) loss of between US$1.2 to US$2.7 billion across the Caribbean and Latin America, underscoring the need for building resilience in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
"Fishing communities are most often vulnerable to hurricanes and floods. To save lives and enable fisherfolk to quickly restart their livelihoods, resilience needs to be built. We can do so through insurance schemes, social protection schemes, but also through making fisheries infrastructure climate-proof. Early warning systems, safety at sea training, adaptation of fishing vessels to the new reality are also investments that we need to make," she added.
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
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, said: "As we commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the CRFM, let us reflect on how far we have come and recommit ourselves to the journey ahead. Our collective vision for a sustainable, prosperous Caribbean region is within our reach. Let this conference be a beacon of hope, a platform for meaningful dialogue, and a catalyst for positive change."
The Conference ends on Thursday, 31 August, with the presentation of national reports from CRFM Member States on the Status of their Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector.
For more information on the conference, please access the Conference webpage here.
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.
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.
We are looking for a highly motivated, goal oriented, responsible, and committed person to join our TEAM as a Project Staff to support the implementation of the BE CLME+ Project at our Headquarters in Belize City, Belize.
A Regional Project Coordinator (RPC) is needed to oversee and coordinate the implementation of the BE-CLME+ Project. He/she is responsible for the development and implementation of the project workplan and budget, and the day-to-day management of project resources and support staff. He/ She will coordinate the schedule, budget, issues and risks and make sure the project management framework is well-organized and that it runs smoothly.
Some duties and responsibilities are:
• Review reports and other products of project Consultants.
• Coordinate and actively participate in meetings with stakeholders.
• Draft technical ToRs in coordination with the Marine Spatial Planning Specialist and the Seafood Value Chain Specialist.
• Direct supervision of the Marine Spatial Planning Specialist and the Seafood Value Chain Specialist to ensure delivery of all project outcomes and outputs.
• Observe project management procedures to facilitate project implementation and ensure delivery of high-quality outcomes.
• In consultation with regional and local partners, prepare the project’s annual work plans and budget allocations.
• Facilitate communications and linkages at regional, national, and local levels.
• Doctorate or Master’s Degree or equivalent with professional experience in Project Management, Business Administration, Marine Management, Fisheries Science, Coastal Zone Management, or Marine Science, with college courses/academic level or certification in project management preferred.
• A good understanding of marine biodiversity, marine protected areas, climate change, marine spatial planning, fisheries development and management, ecosystems-approach to fisheries management, monitoring and evaluation.
DEADLINE: 22 SEPTEMBER 2023
Belize City, Friday, 7 July 2023 (CRFM)—A cadre of eighteen (18) Fisheries personnel from the Caribbean recently completed a customized Caribbean short course on Fisheries Assessment and Data Modelling, convened in Barbados from 21-27 June 2023, by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM). The training was supported by the GRÓ-Fisheries Training Programme (or GRÓ-FTP), formerly the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP), under the auspices of the United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The lead trainers were Dr. Einar Hjorleifsson, Fisheries Scientist at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute Iceland, and Dr. Warsha Singh, GRÓ-FTP stock assessment specialist, who worked in partnership with the CRFM’s senior technical team: Dr. Sandra Grant, Deputy Executive Director; Dr. Pranaya Parida, Fisheries Scientist; and Mrs. June Masters, Statistics and Information Analyst, to deliver the in-person training which spanned five and a half days. This was a follow-up to the online segment of the training convened over 4 days on June 9, 12, 14, and 16.
Fisheries personnel from several Caribbean countries who participated in the Fisheries Assessment and Data Modelling Caribbean short course, pictured above with organizers and experts who facilitated the training. (Photo courtesy Fisheries Technologies)
Through their longstanding partnership, the CRFM, based in Belize, and GRÓ-FTP, based in Iceland, collaborated on developing and delivering this course, to strengthen the capacity of key stock assessment and fisheries data analysis specialists in the Caribbean. Part-funding was provided by some CRFM Member States, as well as the Biodiversity Support Programme for ACP Coastal Environments (BioSPACE), funded by the European Union and implemented by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission.
The Fisheries personnel who completed the Fisheries Assessment and Data Modelling course—a ‘training of trainers’ initiative—have returned to their respective countries equipped with new knowledge and skills to share with their national teams. Six GRÓ-FTP alumni from the Caribbean participated in the training as resource persons, to reinforce their knowledge and provide training support to other course participants.
In addressing the participants during the training, Dr. Grant highlighted the critical importance of performing regular assessments of fisheries data collected from fishers to support evidence-based decision-making, to inform policymakers, and to give useful feedback to fishers and other stakeholders.
Dr. Grant added: “This year marks the CRFM’s 20th Anniversary—a year when we aim to celebrate our achievements over the past two decades. As the regional fisheries body responsible to coordinate and promote regional cooperation for the sustainable use, management, and conservation of our living marine resources and the marine ecosystem, this year we hope to inspire a fresh vision for the fisheries and aquaculture sector ... One of our objectives for this year’s 20th Anniversary Celebrations is to highlight the importance of data collection and assessment to sustainable fisheries management.”
The participants, who all received certificates upon completion of the course last Thursday, believe that the training received will not just strengthen their professional capacities for performing assessments and modeling fisheries data—they furthermore see the ‘training of trainers’ course as the start of a regional collaboration to strengthen their collective work through better networking.
Dr. Tomas Willems, Head of the Statistics and Research Division, Fisheries Department, Suriname, said: “The course was very timely and relevant for Suriname, which is currently in the process of improving its fisheries statistical procedures and has started to collect data in support of stock assessment for the main fisheries resources. By bringing together fisheries data analysts from the CARICOM region, the course facilitated a lively exchange of experiences and best practices and marked the birth of a network where we can continue to learn from each other.” The customized Fisheries Assessment and Data Modelling short course utilized the R software, which is a free tool for statistical computing and graphics. Dr. Singh, GRÓ-FTP Specialist, noted the joint efforts of the CRFM and GRÓ-FTP to establish a critical mass of R users and people with data analysis and assessment knowledge to support a data-driven culture for sustainable fisheries management in the Caribbean.
Derrick Theophile, Chief Fisheries Officer, Dominica, noted that, “This training programme provided the opportunity to leverage perhaps some of the most powerful tools for understanding and using fisheries data more effectively and precisely, to generate substantive results for management—those tools being the R statistical software and interpersonal networking and sharing.” He added that “…our collective capacities are raised, and we are better equipped to collaboratively manage our shared fishery resources.”
Anginette Murray, Statistics and Data Manager, National Fisheries Authority, Jamaica said: “The ease with which concepts were taught and fisheries data assessed is invaluable in enhancing data collection in Jamaica and by extension producing timelier reports. Additionally, the future of Fisheries Science in the region looks quite promising. I believe with the networking established with the fellow scientists, Jamaica will benefit from the ongoing collaboration in the management of our valuable fisheries resources, both regionally and globally.”
This was the third stock assessment training course offered under the partnership between the CRFM and GRÓ-FTP, which dates back to 2008. GRÓ-FTP has also assisted with training needs assessments for CRFM Member States, in addition to on-the-ground technical support and contributions to CRFM Scientific meetings. The partners have also collaborated to provide training in advanced leadership, project management, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and the fisheries value chain, among others. Furthermore, dozens of public and private sector professionals from the Caribbean have also benefitted from 6-month fellowships and degree programmes offered by GRÓ-FTP in Iceland.
The Atlantic Hurricane season has commenced, and we are now on our second named storm for this season. We can never be too prepared for adverse weather!
The CRFM is pleased to share with you a set of new posters to assist fishers and the wider community with preparing for hurricanes and storms!
Feel free to download, print, and share widely!
Access these free resources via the below links:
A Marine Spatial Planning Specialist (MSPS) is needed under the Project “BE-CLME+: Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities Through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus.” The project aims to strengthen blue economy opportunities through sustainable healthy coastal and marine ecosystems, address drivers to protect habitats and species, and sustainable biodiversity and fisheries management. The project will be implemented in Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, and Saint Lucia for a period of 4 years from 2023-2027.
THE MSPS will:
• Oversee the National data gap and needs assessments to inform MSP and MSP Protocol, including the preparation of relevant Terms of Reference for associated consultancies as may be applicable (Outcome 1.1, Outcome 3.1)
• Coordinate and oversee the successful implementation of all MSP related workshops, including those addressing Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measure (OECM), and Blue Economy Strategies (Outcome 1.2, Outcome 2.1)
• Oversee the development of decision-support systems in support of MSP and Blue Economy (Outcome 1.1, Outcome 3.1)
• Lead and oversee all processes and trainings in support of potential areas for new MPAs or OECMs, and for the expansion of MPAs (Outcome 1.2)
• Responsible for the overall delivery of project results, outcomes, and indicators relevant to Marine Spatial Planning, Marine Protected Areas, and Blue Economy Strategies. (Outcome 1.1, Outcome 1.2)
• Provide direct and tangible inputs to the Knowledge Management processes of the project (Outcome 3.3)
• Contribute to preparation of the project’s progress reports and Project Implementation Reports (PIRs) by providing technical inputs (Outcome 3.2)
• Participate in the project’s Mid-Term Evaluation and Terminal Evaluation as required by the external evaluators (Outcome 3.2)
• Assist with preparation of the Terminal Report
Doctorate or Master’s Degree in Marine Management, Fisheries Science, Coastal Zone Management, or Marine Science:
• Training in Marine Spatial Planning and/or Blue Economy will be a distinctive asset
• A good understanding of biodiversity, marine protected areas, climate change, marine spatial planning, fisheries management, ecosystems-approach to fisheries management, monitoring, and evaluation
DEADLINE: 14 JULY 2023
DOWNLOAD TERMS OF REFERENCE: BECLME_Marine Spatial Planning Specialist_Terms of Reference FINAL.pdf (crfm.net)
The hurricane season is upon us, and we need to be prepared to protect lives and property! This advisory is intended for fishers and other stakeholders in the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector. It provides practical steps that can be taken before, during and after a storm. On 1 June 2023, right at the start of the Hurricane Season, a tropical depression emerged in the Gulf of Mexico showing a strong chance of development over the Florida area, with a projected path that would place it in the northwestern Caribbean by the weekend. This became the first named storm of the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season - Arlene. Although the threat has now passed, we need to stay vigilant! | CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE NEWSLETTER
The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) partnered with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to develop a Digital Aquaculture Library for CARICOM. The Digital Aquaculture Library consists of two parts:
1.) A REGISTRY of individuals and/or hubs for each Member State involved in, inter alia, the financial, technical, research, managerial, regulatory and/or practical aspect of aquaculture, and
2.) A Digital Library for AQUACULTURE PUBLICATIONS for the region, managed on OpenASFA.
Both are easily accessible online using the following links:
For the Registry:
For the Aquaculture Publications: