Bridgetown, Barbados, 29 March 2023 (IICA): Fish processing establishments and fishers across the Caribbean now have access to a new online hub of fisheries food safety resources. The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), in partnership with the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) today announced the launch of the new Fisheries Food Safety Hub, developed with funding from the European Union (EU) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures Project.
“At the European Union, we view our environmental and health ambitions – set in the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy – as drivers for raising global standards through trade. Ensuring fisheries food safety is at the core of these standards, allowing not only for exports to the EU, but also within Caribbean countries. We therefore welcome the launch of the Fisheries Food Safety Hub which will serve as a learning platform for stakeholders and as a product of the longstanding partnership between the EU, IICA, and CRFM,” stated EU Ambassador, H.E. Malgorzata Wasilewska.
The purpose of the Fisheries Food Safety Hub is to increase accessibility to fisheries food safety compliance materials. It serves as the central access point for a wealth of food safety resources for the Caribbean, primarily developed under the 10th and 11th EDF SPS Measures Project. These include guides and manuals, training videos, infographics, and policy documents covering the entire fisheries value chain: pre-harvest, harvest, and post-harvest. The Hub also features resources developed through complementary initiatives to strengthen food safety in the region, including the Leadership Institute of the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO).
IICA and the CRFM developed the Hub for stakeholders from both the public and private sectors in the fifteen CARIFORUM countries. The partners especially catered to the needs of fishers and fisher organizations, as well as aquaculture farmers, thereby expanding the reach of the project’s online platform to the agriculture, fisheries, and aquaculture sectors.
“Having ready access to current scientifically based information on a timely basis is fundamental for strengthening compliance with international Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and ultimately contributes towards improved market access and trade in the Caribbean Region. Hence IICA is very pleased to collaborate with the CRFM with funding from the European Union to develop this important information resource for the fisheries sector,” stated the Head of IICA’s Agricultural Health, Food Safety and Quality Programme, Dr Jose Urdaz.
Mr. Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism said: “The Fisheries Food Safety Hub is a very important development and will be beneficial to all our stakeholders in the CARIFORUM countries—from producers to consumers, as well as national and regional regulatory authorities with responsibility for ensuring safe and wholesome supplies of fish and fishery products to local markets, and for monitoring the implementation and compliance with trading measures and standards to promote sustainable trade. This is of particular importance given that food safety is of highest priority, especially in the context of expanding trade while also reaching the target of a 25% reduction in the Caribbean’s food import bill by 2025, as mandated by our Heads of Government."
Mr. Adrian LaRoda, Chair of the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations, said: “The Hub itself will be very beneficial to the CNFO, as it is another platform for us, small-scale fishers, to be able to share our message... to reach a greater number of participants, particularly those who are not within the CNFO constituency.” Mr. LaRoda added that CNFO members will take advantage of the Fisheries Food Safety Hub, and they will continue to update the information from the CNFO Leadership Institute which is featured on the Hub, and to use the platform as a part of their ongoing efforts to strengthen the capacity of fishers in the Caribbean.
Mr. Udo Karg, the Acting Chair of the Suriname Seafood Association and CEO of Ocean Delight, underscored that food safety is the highest priority. One of Suriname’s export establishments, Ocean Delight, is featured on the Fisheries Food Safety Hub, as one of entities which received training under the 11th EDF SPS Measures Project. All the materials for that training are available for open access on the Fisheries Food Safety Hub. Mr. Karg also sees the Food Safety Hub as a marketing tool which demonstrates the work done in Suriname to ensure fisheries food safety, particularly for exporting to the EU.
Mr. Eardley Simmons, Managing Director of Bequia Seafood in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, which has been in operation since October 2017, agreed that the Fisheries SPS Hub can be used as a tool to strengthen capacity in the fisheries sector. He said that they would greatly benefit if they could get assistance from another processing plant to train their workers, and this exchange could help them to improve their standards by learning from what other establishments have been doing to address their challenges. Bequia Seafood could, in turn, offer training to other establishments in the region.
The resources that are showcased on the Fisheries Food Safety Hub will help persons in the fisheries and aquaculture sector to strengthen their knowledge on food safety, and especially the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures that are important for trade within and outside of the Caribbean Region.
The Fisheries Food Safety Hub is linked with the e-Library of the project, available on edfspscariforum.online, which offers authoritative digital resources dedicated to stakeholders interested in Agricultural Health, Food Safety and Food Quality in the CARIFORUM region.
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Belize City, Friday, 24 March 2023 (CRFM)—The Blue Justice Caribbean Hub, a regional hub to strengthen cooperation and coordination in the use of innovation and digital technology to fight fisheries crimes, was launched on the occasion of the two-day International Blue Justice Conference 2023, which concluded today in UN City, Copenhagen, Denmark. The establishment of the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub in Jamaica is the latest in a series of advancements by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and its Member States in combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and transnational organized crime in the fishing industry.
Jamaica and other CRFM States celebrate the Caribbean’s launch of the first regional Blue Justice Hub
Photo: Derrick Theophile, Dominica
In May 2021, the CRFM Ministerial Council at its 15th Regular Meeting adopted the Resolution Regarding the Copenhagen Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry and the Blue Justice Initiative. In October 2021, twelve CRFM Member States signed the Declaration together. Several of those Ministers participated in the Blue Justice Conference 2023, during which two more CRFM Member States—Barbados and Dominica—became signatories to the international declaration.
“This climate-sensitive sector straddles the kaleidoscope of coloured economies, unfortunately including the black economy—an economy, of course, bedeviled with illegal activities such as drug and human trafficking and unregulated and unreported fishing, which have often posed a significant challenge in the sector worldwide,” said.
Mr. Milton Haughton, CRFM Executive Director, said: “The fish stocks in our waters not only provide a significant source of food and nutrition for our people, but also contribute substantially to livelihoods, economic activities, trade, recreation, culture, and the socio-economic stability of many rural communities. However, the pillaging and plundering of our marine resources … undermine the investments and sacrifices of our governments and stakeholders to protect, manage, and use our fisheries resources sustainably, to improve food and nutrition security, eradicate poverty, and promote economic development.”
Chairman of the CRFM Ministerial Council, Hon. Parmanand Sewdien, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry & Fisheries, Suriname said: “We see that the perpetrators are increasingly making use of sophisticated technology, to carry out these nefarious activities in our waters and across our region... The Blue Justice Platform is providing insights into the movement of vessels in the region and creating a basis for greater collaboration and sharing of information.
“We welcome and support the intention of Jamaica to function as the regional Hub,” Minister Sewdien added. Delegates from Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, as well as Saint Kitts and Nevis, added their public endorsement while pledging their full support to the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub during the proceedings.
Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr - Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries - Jamaica. Seated (left to right) Mr. Justin Rennie - on behalf of Minister of Agriculture & Lands, Fisheries & Cooperatives - Grenada, and Hon. Samal Duggins - Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources - St. Kitts & Nevis
Photo: UNDP/Blue Justice Secretariat
Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries, Jamaica, then outlined the importance of the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub to food security, national security, and social mobility. He underscored that reducing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing will translate to the sustainability of fish stocks and improved livelihoods for fishers.
Minister Charles explained that although Jamaica will host the Hub, it will also identify and appoint at least one superuser on the Blue Justice Community to follow up with other registered Caribbean countries to connect under the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub. National focal points will also be identified.
Dr. Emma Witbooi, Project Manager, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - Blue Resilience Project, said: "The Blue Resilience Project is very proud to be supporting the establishment of regional Blue Justice Hubs globally—of which the Caribbean Hub is the first. These Hubs will essentially be nodes for developing and sustaining capacity on interagency cooperation to address fisheries crime both in the host country and between the countries of the region. The Hub will serve the specific needs identified by the countries in the region, and this is exactly what we've heard here today.”
Ms. Ava Whyte-Anderson - Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica, commended the CARICOM governments for their demonstrated commitment to ending illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and the Caribbean’s “sizeable contribution to the achievement of SDG 14 (Life below water)."
“UNDP along with our partners are committed to providing the requisite resources at the national and regional levels to ensure the Hub reaches its full potential,” said Whyte-Anderson.
Mr. Gunnar Stølsvik, Specialist Director, Fisheries Department, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries – Norway, commended the Caribbean ministers for the passage of the Ministerial Resolution. "It shows that that region is really taking this seriously and has a clear roadmap in the implementation of this... going from words to action,” he added.
Minister Adrian Forde – Barbados signed the Declaration remotely
Photo: UNDP/Blue Justice Secretariat
Minister Jullan Defoe - Dominica signed in Copenhagen, Denmark
Photo: Blue Justice Secretariat / UNDP
Mr. Stølsvik announced the latest signatories to the declaration: the Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Madagascar, and Barbados, which signed remotely, and Somalia, Angola, Tuvalu, Guinea, as well as the Commonwealth of Dominica, which signed at the event. He said that Thailand was also in the process of signing. H.E. Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran, Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Norway, said that with the new signings, the total number of signatories to the Copenhagen Declaration had surpassed 60.
“On behalf of all the members, I will—as depositor for the Copenhagen Declaration—thank you all for your strong support, and I will also thank our new members for their support,” said Minister Skjæran as he welcomed them to the global fight and to the Blue Justice family.
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Belize City, Wednesday, 22 March 2023 (CRFM)—High-level delegations from several Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will participate this week in the Blue Justice Conference 2023, billed by organizers as the largest global high-level event on transnational organised crime in the global fishing industry. The Blue Justice Caribbean Hub—to be housed in Jamaica—will also be launched at the high-level event.
Officials from twelve CRFM Member States—Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and The Turks and Caicos Islands—will be among the participants from approximately 80 countries and territories expected to attend the hybrid event, slated for 23-24 March 2023, in UN City, Copenhagen, Denmark.
The CRFM—the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) institution which leads the region’s efforts to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and transnational organized crime in fishing industry—is among the partners joining the Government of Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in convening the international conference.
Mr. Milton Haughton, CRFM Executive Director, will deliver official remarks at the Opening Ceremony on Thursday, 23 March, and will subsequently speak with Conference attendees about regional cooperation mechanisms in the Caribbean.
Haughton said: "The Blue Justice Initiative offers our countries significant opportunities to obtain intelligence, improve maritime domain awareness, access technical assistance, and strengthen national and regional capacities to better monitor and protect our marine resources and combat fisheries crimes, including illegal fishing. We are very grateful for the support being provided by the Blue Justice Initiative and the Government of Norway and other Nordic countries to support our countries in turning the tide against fisheries crime in the region and globally.”
Above, illegal catch confiscated from foreign vessels found fishing in Jamaica's waters
(Photos: National Fisheries Authority - Jamaica)
During the conference’s high-level session, delegates from several participating CRFM Member States will present their "Country insights". This segment of the conference will conclude with a discussion on governance and space technology in support of SDG 14 (Life Below Water) and SDG 16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions).
Conference side events will be held on the Blue Enforcement Project (UNODC) - “Understanding gender roles in tackling crimes in the fisheries sector in Sri Lanka and Maldives”, and the Blue Fairness Project (ILO/UNODC/IOM) - “Using data to inform policies to combat trafficking for forced labour in fishing”.
The second day of the Blue Justice Conference, Friday, 24 March, is dedicated to the Blue Justice Action Forum. During that event, CRFM Member States will participate in a tabletop exercise.
The CRFM solidified its partnership with Norway and the Blue Justice Initiative in 2022, when 12 Member States signed the International Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry (the Copenhagen Declaration) en bloc and pledged their support for the Blue Justice Initiative.
To date, fifty-one countries have signed the Copenhagen Declaration, and other countries have been invited to likewise sign the agreement at the upcoming conference and to join the Blue Justice Initiative. Dominica, a CRFM Member State, intends to sign the declaration at the event and join the global effort against transnational crime in the fishing industry.
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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.”
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
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)
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.
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Belize City, Thursday, 19 January 2023 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has a new fisheries assessment scientist on its technical team. Dr. Pranaya Kumar Parida, who holds a Ph.D. in Fisheries Resource Management from India with more than 18 years of experience in Fisheries Research, Teaching and Extension, was recruited to assume a three-year tenure with the CRFM through the longstanding Cooperation Programme between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Government of India.
Dr. Parida will assist the CRFM and its Member States with fisheries assessment studies, statistical analyses of commercially exploited marine fish stocks, as well as the formulation of fisheries management plans and advice for decision-making. He will also provide training to Fisheries Biologists, Data Collectors, and Data Managers in CRFM Member States and at the CRFM Secretariat. He will be based at the CRFM Office located in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism said: “The recruitment of Dr. Parida to assist with stock assessment studies is expected to provide critical data and information on the state of our fisheries, enabling CRFM Member States to enhance the way they manage the region’s fisheries resources. Through this engagement, the CRFM will continue to work towards strategically improving the sustainable development and management of the living marine resources of the CARICOM and CRFM Member States. The CRFM Secretariat is very grateful for the generous support being provided by the Government of India in making the services of Dr. Parida available to the CRFM Member States.”
He is credited with the publication of more than 35 international peer-reviewed research papers, 10 popular articles, and 2 books. He has been awarded a design patent and has filed another 4 patents as co-inventor.
Dr. Parida previously served as Assistant Professor (Fisheries Resource Management) at College of Fisheries, GADVASU, Ludhiana. He has furthermore conducted over 50 training programmes for the farmers, students from different universities, and government officials from different states of India.
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In this edition of the management issue of the newsletter we highlight management related activities of the CRFM Secretariat, Member States and collaborating/partner organisations over the past 2 years. We utilise the form of newspaper-type (rather than scientific journal) articles to make the issue about what is happening in fisheries management in the region, presented as short interesting stories that are appealing and easy to read. In the masthead for the newsletter, the vessel under the "CRFM" logo is reminiscent of vessels used in at least one Member States of the western and eastern Caribbean, respectively. We have located the word “News” under the sunrise: sunrise is the dawn of a new day - and we see it as symbolizing “News".
We apologise for the hiatus since June 2020 and would like to thank the contributors who “stepped up to the plate” for this edition. In particular, those from outside the CRFM Secretariat team. In this latter regard, special mention must be made of contributors from Terrence Phillips, consultant; Vilhjálmur Hallgrímsson, Fisheries Technologies ehf, Iceland; Myles Phillips, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Belize; and Bryan Jordan, CCRIF-SPC intern. Thanks also go out to Bryan for his useful editorial insights into the penultimate draft.
This Newsletter is published by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat. The CRFM is an inter-governmental organisation whose mission is to “Promote and facilitate the responsible utilisation of the region’s fisheries and other aquatic resources for the economic and social benefits of the current and future population of the region”. The CRFM consists of three bodies – the Ministerial Council, the Caribbean Fisheries Forum and the CRFM Secretariat; and is the Competent Agency for implementation of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy.
CRFM members are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Here is a PDF version of the newsletter:
Belize City, Wednesday, 12 October 2022 (CRFM)—The Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) held its 12th Special Meeting on Friday, 7 October 2022. The Council of Ministers, which is the chief policy and decision-making body of the CRFM, passed a series of resolutions to address key issues that affect sustainable use and management of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, and to strengthen the governance and administration of the CRFM.
During its 12th Special Meeting, the Ministerial Council passed a resolution on positioning small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in the CARICOM regional blue economy dialogue and policies. The Council thereby approved a policy document aimed at improving and role of Small-scale Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Regional Blue Economy Dialogue. The document reflects the aspirations and ideals of the small-scale fishing communities and reaffirms the critical role of fisheries, and especially small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, in regional food security and nutrition, livelihoods, poverty eradication, trade, and contributing to blue economic growth in the region.
The Fisheries Ministers expressed their commitment to collaborating with all actors to create enabling conditions, implement targeted interventions and mainstream the inclusion of small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in the blue economy at the national and regional levels.
Photo courtesy CNFO - Fisher in Saint Lucia
The Council called upon CRFM Member States and all actors to utilize the CRFM guidance document in crafting policies, programmes, and plans to highlight the importance of small-scale fisheries and aquaculture to the blue economy. It furthermore urged Member States to promote and support small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in the post-pandemic reconstruction of the countries to improve economic, social, and environmental resilience and self-reliance, and promote food security, safe and decent work, and the eradication of poverty in the region.
The Council also passed a resolution adopting the CNFO/CRFM Small-scale Fisheries Action Plan 2023-2025: Contributing to Achieving the 25% Reduction in the Caribbean Community Food Import Bill by 2025, developed through a collaborative effort between the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations (CNFO) representing the interests of small-scale fisherfolk in the Caribbean, and the CRFM.
The CRFM Ministerial Council also recognized the critical role of national fisherfolk organisations (NFOs) and other stakeholders in ensuring the successful implementation of the CNFO/CRFM Small-scale Fisheries Action Plan 2023-2025. It, therefore, called upon the Caribbean fisherfolk, and regional and international development partners, donors, private sector and community-based organisations to prioritize the implementation of the Action Plan, in collaboration with the CRFM Secretariat, to address the challenges of increasing fish and seafood production and availability in a sustainable manner while contributing to reducing the regional food import bill by 25% by 2025.
The Council urged the CNFO and the small-scale fisherfolk in the region to work along with the CRFM and the respective national authorities and institutions to enhance engagement across all CRFM Member States, and to utilize the CNFO Leadership Institute and communications tools to help bolster inclusion of fisherfolk at the national level.
The CRFM Ministerial Council passed a total of eight (8) resolutions during the 12th Special Meeting. Two key policies approved by the CRFM Ministerial Council are the CRFM Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy 2022 and the CRFM Personal Data Protection Policy 2022.
The Council passed a resolution approving the celebration of the CRFM’s 20th Anniversary starting January 2023, and issued a statement on the celebrations, which 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.
Finally, the Council passed a resolution addressing the proposals to list 91 species of fish and other marine living organisms on CITES Appendices I or II at the upcoming Conference of Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in November 2022.
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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:
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.
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Six countries of the Eastern Caribbean are moving ahead with community-based fisheries management, in the context of the “Satoumi Concept”
Belize City, Friday, 9 September 2022 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) convened a two-day regional workshop under the Japan-funded project—Strengthening Sustainable Use and Management of Coastal Fisheries Resources in CARICOM Countries (COASTFISH)—earlier this week at Bay Gardens Hotel, Saint Lucia.
This event was a follow-up to the first regional workshop, held electronically in July 2021. On this occasion, there was in-depth discussion about the success of co-management in Japan and how the pilot projects in the six target countries—Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines—could contribute to the introduction of co-management and improve coastal resource management. This second regional workshop afforded participants the opportunity to develop much needed actions in fishing communities, and to look more closely at the management of Marine Protected Areas and Marine Managed Areas, and how to enhance the role of resource users and stakeholders.
Honorable Alfred Prospere, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development, Saint Lucia (photo left), opened the event. Ms. Emma Hippolyte, Parliamentary Representative for Soufriere, Fisheries officials from all participating countries, the Project Team of IC NET Ltd of Japan and the JICA Saint Lucia Office also participated in the event.
In his official remarks, Minister Prospere applauded the work being done by the COASTFISH team in Saint Lucia, which he said supports the implementation of the strategies outlines in the National Fisheries Policy which Cabinet Ministers in Saint Lucia had approved just last week, to guide the planning and development of the fisheries sector for the period 2020 to 2030.
Hon. Alfred Prospere (Photo: Saint Lucia Parliament)
Minister Prospere said: “This project focuses on enhancing the ecosystem function in the coastal communities by integrating both government and community members in activities that involve both environmental and resource protection. It is also noted that this project aims to encourage the improvement in the livelihoods of fisherfolk by promoting sustainable development and innovative resource management. The steps that have been taken as part of this project would assist Saint Lucia in ‘implementing effective adaptation actions to strengthen the sustainability of the islands fisheries and fishery-dependent businesses and the security of fisheries-dependent livelihoods under a changing climate’.”
Mr. Thomas Nelson, Deputy Chief Fisheries Officer, Saint Lucia Fisheries Department, and Dr. Sandra Grant, Deputy Executive Director, CRFM Secretariat, also delivered remarks.
Dr. Grant noted that the CRFM’s previous collaboration with JICA on the Caribbean Fisheries Co-management Project (CARIFICO) demonstrated to fishing communities the tremendous benefits of co-management, resulting in improved catches and higher incomes for fishers from participating Member States who used the Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs).
She noted that the intervention had very tangible results for the wider fishing community, including the formation of new fisherfolk organizations and the involvement of fishers in all aspects of the project—from consultation, deployment of the fishing gear, developing rules to regulate activities around the FADs and collecting fisheries data.
Dr. Grant said that the CRFM and its partners would like to build on the lessons learnt during the CARIFICO Project, as they embark on Phase 2 of the COASTFISH project. She explained that the JICA-funded COASTFISH, in collaboration with government agencies, fishers and local partners, aims to develop and implement co-management projects for each country. The COASTFISH project will help move countries to better management, utilization, and protection, and conservation of the coastal and marine resources, while ensuring that the resources are used responsibly to contribute optimally to our development.
Artificial reef 9 months after installation at Laborie, Saint Lucia (Photo: JICA)
During Phase 1, countries identified the issues surrounding Marine Managed Areas and co-management. Dr. Grant said that the pilot projects to be developed during Phase 2 will seek to address these issues and build capacity of the fisherfolks in the co-management approach with an emphasis on mainstreaming gender in management and along the value chain.
Makeba Felix, Fisheries Biologist, Department of Fisheries, Saint Lucia, said in her closing remarks that, “On the heels of a global pandemic that drastically affected the economic outputs of our fisheries sector, it is of high priority that we work with our fisherfolk to support recovery efforts. This project and the technical support received from the consultants to realise the ‘Satoumi’ concept will help our countries realise this goal.”
She added that, “Further, the lessons learnt through the implementation of the various activities demonstrating ‘Satoumi’ will be far reaching – beyond the shores of the OECS but more broadly the Caribbean Community through the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism.”
Dr. Seko Akiya, the team leader of the project, thanked everyone for their participation. He said, "...this was a very good opportunity for discussion among us... After this seminar, we will continue to keep close communication with all of you, and we look forward to your continued support."
Wednesday, 24 August 2022 (CRFM)--Participants from nine Caribbean countries are taking the Joint CRFM/RSS Fisheries Prosecution and Interdiction Course, which opened on Monday, 22 August 2022 and continues through to Friday, 26 August 2022.
Through this collaborative initiative, the CRFM and RSS are working together to heighten awareness and enhance the skills and competencies of authorized officers who have border security and other related responsibilities for the enforcement of Fisheries legislation as well as supporting administrative policies.
This short course will arm participants with stronger knowledge of the correct law enforcement procedures, as well as the legal and other principles underlying legislative instruments. The participants will also gain knowledge on techniques for the preparation of Trial Proceedings for fisheries-related offences.
Resource Persons for the Fisheries Prosecution and Interdiction Course have been drawn from the Barbados Coast Guard, the Barbados Police Service, the CRFM, the Fisheries Division of Barbados, and the RSS.
The CRFM’s Advisor, Fisheries Management and Development is integrally involved with facilitating and coordinating the training.
The core course material has been drawn from the two volumes of the CRFM’s Prosecution and Enforcement Manuals for CARIFORUM Member States: Vol 1 - Fisheries Prosecution Manual and Vol 2 - Fisheries Enforcement Standard Operating Procedures Manual.
The course covers interdiction, maritime boundaries (including inland waters, territorial waters, and the exclusive economic zone), legal and regulatory frameworks, other management tools and administrative policies, standard operating procedures (SOPs), prosecution, evidence gathering, inspection of fishing vessels and fishing gear, as well as trial proceedings.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fisheries Prosecution and Interdiction course was a four-week residential course for officers from the RSS Coast Guard and Marine Police units. However, due to the challenges brought on by the pandemic, the structure of the course was adapted to two phases—the first being the introductory (online) course being convened this week. Participants who are successful in this phase will get an opportunity to participate in the follow-up three-week residential course to be held under the auspices of the RSS Training Institute in Barbados.