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.
-- ENDS --
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.
- ENDS -
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.
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.
"Climate change and ocean acidification pose significant threats to fish production on top of the many other pressures, such as overfishing, habitat degradation, pollution and invasive species—all undermining our food and nutrition security..."
-- Mr. Milton Haughton, CRFM Excecutive Director
The Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Mr. Milton Haughton, has underscored the need for access to financing and technology in addressing the threats which climate change pose to Caribbean fisheries and aquaculture. In addressing the Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week 2022 (LACCW) side event in July on Anticipating climate risks and preventing disaster: climate resilient development pathways in Latin America and the Caribbean, he emphasized the need to build partnerships as well as capacity at the local and community levels. He also spoke of the need to pursue an integrated approach to implementing and mainstreaming the best practices developed over the years to improve resilience and empower coastal communities.
Mr. Haughton expressed concern that adverse climate change impacts will inevitably result in reduced availability of fish for local consumption and export—compounding the threats that already confront the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
"Climate change and ocean acidification pose significant threats to fish production on top of the many other pressures, such as overfishing, habitat degradation, pollution and invasive species—all undermining our food and nutrition security," he stated.
The CRFM Executive Director also stressed the need for CRFM Member States to take the whole-of-government approach, rather than a siloed approach to combating these myriad challenges and threats arising from climate change. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has placed a high priority on supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as disaster risk management across the Community. In this regard, in 2005, the CARICOM Heads of Government established the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). The CRFM maintains a close partnership with the CCCCC as well as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), in addressing adaptation to climate change and disaster risk management in the fisheries sector. Furthermore, the CRFM works closely with several other key partners, including Member States, donors, local civil society and NGOs, to develop and implement best practices.
In 2018, the CRFM’s policy-makers, the Ministerial Council, adopted the Protocol on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries and Aquaculture, an important protocol to the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) which promotes cooperation and collaboration among Caribbean people, fishers and governments in conserving, managing, and sustainably using fisheries and related ecosystems, as well as improving the welfare and livelihood of fisherfolk in the region. Another key instrument is the CRFM’s Regional Strategy and Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries and Aquaculture (2020-2030) .
Mr. Haughton noted that at the national level, several CRFM Member States have developed climate change policies and strategies, providing a roadmap at the national level to address the problems arising from climate change.
Fisherfolk in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines received equipment obtained through the CRFM Secretariat under the CIF/IDB Pilot Program for Climate Resilience - Caribbean Regional Track.
He also highlighted several projects that the CRFM has been involved with, which address the issue of climate change. These include the Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean Fisheries Sector Project (CC4FISH) and the Caribbean Fisheries Co-management Project (CARIFICO), which promoted the development and deployment of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) capable of withstanding category 5 hurricanes, thereby reducing damaging impacts to the environment, including ghost fishing.
The CRFM was also integrally involved in the IDB Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) - Caribbean Regional Track, which was funded by the Climate Investment Fund (CIF). The CRFM Secretariat coordinated the marine sub-component of the Regional Project, which was executed by the Mona Office for Research and Innovation (MORI) at the University of West Indies, Jamaica. The CRFM coordinated the development and testing of the Fisher Early Warning and Emergency Response (FEWER) Moobile App in collaboration with UWI. The CRFM is partnering with CDEMA, in an effort to expand the reach and uptake of this tool and scale up its benefits across the region.
The CRFM’s collaborative work has extended to the mainstreaming of the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF)—a very important parametric insurance arrangement to help counter the impacts of adverse weather events and other natural disasters affecting the fisheries sector—and the roll-out of the Caribbean Ocean and Aquaculture Sustainability Facility (COAST)–an innovative climate risk insurance mechanism to promote food security; livelihoods of fisherfolk; resilient fisheries; sustainable management of coastal infrastructure; and disaster risk reduction in the Caribbean.
The CRFM has also supported the expansion of the Caribbean’s Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) Network , through which stations have been installed in some Caribbean countries with support from the CCCCC.
The most recent initiative of the CRFM is being implemented in partnership with the Government of New Zealand through Plant and Food Research Limited. The Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience Project seeks to turn the large swaths of Sargassum seaweed that have been inundating Caribbean beaches and coastal waters annually since 2011, into commercially viable products that would provide new opportunities for enterprise, livelihoods, employment and economic growth.
To access the body of CRFM documentation on climate change adaptation and disaster risk management, visit the CRFM Portal . You can also register to become a member of the portal.
#CaribbeanFisheries #climatechange #LACCW #CRFM
© 2022 Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism
CRFM Member States highlight Caribbean Instruments and new Norway collaboration to address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry
Published Thursday, 4 August 2022 by the CRFM Secretariat
Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported Fishing (also called IUU Fishing) has been on the radar of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and its seventeen (17) Member States for more than a decade. The commitment of the CRFM and its Member States to address this very challenging and persistent problem has been unwavering, and the timeline below features the major milestones attained over the past 12 years–the most recent of which is the CRFM’s support of the International Declaration against Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry (also known as the Copenhagen Declaration) and the Norwegian supported Blue Justice Initiative.
These provide an international framework which complements the Caribbean framework, developed under the auspices of the CRFM, guided at the policy level by its Ministerial Council.
At a side event at the UN Ocean Conference, held in Lisbon, Portugal on 29 June 2022, the CRFM co-hosted a panel with the Blue Justice Secretariat, Norway and the Blue Justice Initiative on Caribbean and international efforts and mechanisms for combating IUU fishing and transnational organized crime in the global fishing industry.
"It is a very difficult problem that requires enhanced regional and international cooperation and collaboration to effectively eradicate."
- Dr. Gavin Bellamy, CRFM Representative (Jamaica)
Dr. Gavin Bellamy, Chief Executive Officer, National Fisheries Authority, Government of Jamaica, affirmed that “...governments [in the Caribbean Community - CARICOM] have accorded high priority to combating fisheries crime in the region. It is a very difficult problem that requires enhanced regional and international cooperation and collaboration to effectively eradicate.”
Dr. Gavin Bellamy
Photo courtesy: Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Government of Norway
He said that, “The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has been coordinating regional efforts to prevent, deter, and eradicate IUU fishing and crimes in the fisheries sector.” He added that despite the progress made, there was still a long way yet to go.
H.E. Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran, Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Government of Norway, describes IUU fishing and transnational organized crime in the global fishing industry as a threat to our common future. He cautioned that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be attained unless this problem is addressed.
"Through the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism in CARICOM, no less than 12 [Caribbean] countries have decided to join the [Copenhagen] Declaration… In May 2021, the Caribbean ministers started with a resolution endorsing the Copenhagen Declaration and pledging support for the Blue Justice Initiative as frameworks for regional and international cooperation to combat organized crime in the fishing industry,” H.E. Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran said.
H.E. Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran
Photo courtesy: Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Government of Norway
The Caribbean countries are among 48 signatories to the declaration, which was first endorsed in 2018. Since then, Norway–which hosts the secretariat for the Copenhagen Declaration and the Blue Justice Initiative–has led the charge in supporting international efforts to implement the declaration. Its partnership with the CRFM and its Member States took root at Our Ocean Conference in 2019–when the the Blue Justice Initiative was launched–and since then, the CRFM and Norway have continued to partner to address this global problem.
Map © 2022 CRFM
Mr. Gunnar A. Stølsvik
Mr. Gunnar A. Stølsvik, Specialist Director, Fisheries Department at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, said that the Copenhagen Declaration is a political statement and not a legally binding instrument. He added that the declaration recognizes the relevance of the entire fisheries value chain: from capture, to handling and processing, through to sale and the financing of operations.
“To build a [sustainable] blue economy, you have to make sure that the shadow blue economy does not occupy too much of a big space in that economy,” he said.
FOCUS ON CARIBBEAN ACTION TO ADDRESS IUU FISHING AND ORGANISED CRIME IN THE FISHING SECTOR
"There is no simple, no single, no short-term solution to IUU fishing… or to the related organized crime and the networks focusing their commitment and efforts in keeping… the status quo,” said Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, MP - Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, The Government of Jamaica. He added that successful responses will require a holistic and integrated approach where policies are linked to the drivers of IUU fishing.”
Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, MP
Photo courtesy: Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Government of Norway
Minister Charles proposed that Jamaica could serve as the regional Blue Justice hub for the Caribbean, and that the sub-regional office for the Blue Justice Initiative could be established in that country.
He said that support within the region and beyond is required to assure success, including independent action by States, bilateral action by adjacent states, and multilateral action by all parties involved in the fight.
The Minister outlined some key actions by Jamaica:
Minister Charles noted the devastating toll that IUU fishing has had on Jamaica, as well as the world. He said that the scourge of poaching, especially by foreigners, “has caused Jamaica billions of dollars in lost earnings and has prevented thousands of Jamaicans from accessing gainful employment.” He said that Jamaica has suffered annual losses of $6 million in direct export earnings and 5,500 jobs, which has had a multiplier effect on families. The country had put in place a 2-year moratorium on the Queen Conch fishery due to poaching, primarily foreigners.
According to Minister Charles, it is estimated that catches from IUU fishing constitute more than 30% of reported catches, but for some species, IUU fishing may account for up to 3 times the permitted amount.
"The devastating impact of IUU fishing results in overexploitation and the eventual collapse of important fisheries, thereby exacerbating poverty and threatening the livelihoods of the most vulnerable citizens in our country,” the Minister said.
Hon. Andre Perez - Minister of the Blue Economy & Civil Aviation, Government of Belize, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impacts on our economies and the increasing threats to our resources by climate change and climate variability make the fight against IUU fishing even more urgent and critical.”
Hon. Andre Perez
Photo courtesy: Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Government of Norway
Minister Perez said that it is crucial to adopt new and modern tools in the monitoring and control of the region’s small-scale fishing fleet. He said that Belize–which up to 2022 had declared 11.3% of its marine space as no-take high biodiversity zones–is one of the few countries that are piloting the use of mobile transceivers on the fishing fleet as a means of combating IUU fishing.
He added that the Belize Fisheries Department and co-managers of marine protected areas had adopted the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) to enhance enforcement in national waters.
Other initiatives which the Belize Minister highlighted are:
Minister Perez said that the Copenhagen Declaration of 2018 complements the Castries (St. Lucia) Declaration on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, previously signed by members of the CRFM Ministerial Council back in 2010. He also noted other instruments to which Belize had ascribed, including the 2019-2021 Regional Plan of Action on IUU Fishing (RPOA-IUU) for countries that are members of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC), as well as the 2018 Strategy to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate IUU fishing in the territorial waters of the Central America region, formulated under the auspices of the Organization of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector of the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA). With respect to Belize’s recently enacted domestic fisheries legislation, Minister Perez said that in addition to including high fines and penalties intended to serve as a deterrent against IUU fishing, it also has provisions similar to the Lacey Act of the USA which sets out penalties for violations of laws in other states.
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
Our oceans have been a major crime scene… and we must pledge and recommit our efforts to act globally in solidarity, so that we can ensure that we bring an end to IUU fishing in our world,” said Hon. Saboto Caesar - Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry & Labour, Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Hon. Saboto Caesar
Photo courtesy: Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Government of Norway
"I want to send a very clear message to every Member State of the United Nations: for meaningful change to take place, it first begins with a clear expression of the political will to bring about change, and sadly there are still some Member States of the United Nations that have not yet expressed that political will in a way that will benefit the thrust and the effort of others in the fight against IUU fishing,” Minister Caesar stated.
Measures highlighted include:
Minister Caesar stressed the need for resource mobilization to address IUU fishing and transnational organized crime. He said that bilateral and multilateral platforms and in-country budgets must be mobilized to address the matter.
CRFM MOVING AHEAD WITH ITS MANDATE
Dr. Emma Witbooi - Project Manager, Blue Resilience, The United Nations Development Program, reaffirmed their commitment and partnership. She noted that the UNDP has facilitated country-led Blue Action Dialogues which focus on fostering dialogue and cooperation between institutions and agencies that work to tackle fisheries crime.
Dr. Emma Witbooi
“We are delighted to be embarking on the process of working together with various CRFM and CARICOM Member States in initiating these dialogues,” said Dr. Witbooi, reiterating the gratitude of the UNDP for the very fruitful collaboration with the CRFM and CARICOM.
Mr. Joseph Cox, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, lauded the efforts of the CRFM to synergize with the Government of Norway and other partners, through the Blue Justice Initiative to address the challenges arising from IUU fishing and transnational organized crime in the industry. He noted that Article 60 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas–an article dedicated entirely to fisheries management–commits the Member States of the Community to collaborate with each other in the ongoing surveillance of their Exclusive Economic Zone.
Mr. Joseph Cox
To this end, the Caribbean Community has invested in institutions such as the CRFM and CARICOM IMPACS [The Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security] to both improve our collective management of our living marine resources and to bolster regional capacity in security matters,” Mr. Cox said.
“It is clear that a high level of commitment is present. CARICOM leaders have paved the [way] for effective cooperation, sustainable capacity building… in improving the safety of the Caribbean Sea, and the protection and safety of our hardworking fishers and our fisheries industries across Member States,” he added.
GALLERY ON YOUTUBE
#CaribbeanFisheries #IUUFishing #CRFM
© 2022 Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism
Belize City, Friday, 22 July 2022 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is advising fishers and fishing communities across its seventeen (17) Member States to PREPARE and GET READY as we approach the peak of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Early preparation and understanding risks are key to reducing loss, damage and injury to fishers and their families.
Fishers and fishing communities should take steps to prepare for any disaster. One of the available tools is the Fisher Early Warning and Emergency Response (FEWER) mobile app. Fisherfolk should also stay informed and carefully follow official information from the government about severe weather systems and hurricanes (shared via our live map). Fishers should be aware of their risks and safeguard themselves from hazards such as high winds and turbulent seas, storm surge and storm tide, rip currents, heavy rainfall and flooding, and tornadoes.
Fishers are also encouraged to make a family emergency plan and have an emergency kit with supplies, enough food, water, medicine and other essentials that will last them for at least two weeks.
The CRFM cautions fishers against operating vessels under these conditions and urges them to act early to secure their boats and store their fishing gear and basic supplies like ropes, lines, hooks, coolers, crimps and crimpers in the event of an approaching storm. This will help to ensure that fishers can protect their livelihoods and return to fishing more quickly after the storm passes and minimize lost and abandoned fishing gear that will continue to ghost fish.
A few weeks ago, the Colorado State University (CSU) updated its April 2022 prediction—from 19 named storms and 4 major hurricanes to 20 named storms and 5 major hurricanes—noting that this hurricane season will be “well above-average.” An average season has about 14 named storms and 3 major hurricanes. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2022 will mark the 7th straight year having busier-than-normal tropical cyclone activity for the Atlantic Basin and the Caribbean region.
Fisherfolk are encouraged to stay vigilant by following the forecasts during this hurricane season and to contact their disaster management office or their national Fisheries Department or Division if they sustain damages to their vessels or equipment due to a storm or hurricane event. Fishers are urged to continue to work together to support and help each other to prepare during the hurricane season and to assist in the event they are impacted by severe weather systems in 2022.
--------- End of Release---------
Belize City, Friday, 15 July 2022 (CRFM)—Delegations from the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and Plant and Food Research Limited (PFR) of New Zealand have concluded a month-long tour in the Caribbean, including Cancun, Mexico, to gain firsthand knowledge of how the region has been coping with the persistent Sargassum problem. Incidentally, the mission was taking place as Sargassum influxes for the month of June hit a new historical record, underscoring the urgency of scaling up collaboration and private-public partnerships to convert Sargassum into economically viable, climate resilient products.
The CRFM contingent, comprised by Mr. Milton Haughton - Executive Director, Dr. Sandra Grant - Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Maren Headley - Programme Manager, Fisheries Management and Development, and Mrs. Beverley Sutherland - Project Coordinator, was joined by PFR’s Head of International Development - Dr. Suzie Newman, and her team: Ms. Rosie Paterson-Lima - Program Manager International Development, Mr. Wilson Huang - Senior Commercial Manager, and Dr. Mario Alayon - Scientist & Development Engineer.
This tour marks an important milestone in the New Zealand-funded Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience in the Caribbean project, which seeks to mitigate the environmental and economic impacts of Sargassum seaweed influxes in affected Caribbean countries through the creation of inclusive value chains. The partners are now transitioning from phase 1, which involved raw material safety testing and harvesting operations review, to phase 2, which will focus on product and process development for Sargassum-derived products. Following the mission, the team is accessing the information gathered to formulate a plan of action for phase 2.
The first leg of the mission took the CRFM and PFR teams to Barbados, where they met with Hon. Adrian R. Forde, Rph. - Minister of Environment, National Beautification and the Blue and Green Economy and senior Government officials with responsibility for Blue Economic Growth and Fisheries, individuals from the private sector, and representatives of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the University of the West Indies’ Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (UWI-CERMES), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), between June 8-10, 2022.
Subsequently, the mission traveled to Saint Lucia, where they also met with Hon Jeremiah Norbert, Deputy Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, and other senior government officials and individuals from the private sector, including the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO) from June 11-14, 2022. They met with representatives of Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, in addition to community leaders in some of the heavily impacted coastal communities in Vieux Fort, Micoud and Dennery.
On the third leg of the mission, the CRFM and PFR contingents traveled to the Dominican Republic, where they met the District Director of Punta Cana Town – Mr. Ramon Antonio Ramirez, as well as representatives of the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo and private sector representatives involved in collection and management of Sargassum.
From there, the mission traveled to Belize, where the representatives of the CRFM and PFR met from June 21-26, 2022, with officials of government ministries responsible for Tourism, Agriculture, and Blue Economy, as well as CARDI, the University of Belize, and members of the private sector. While in Belize, the CRFM and PFR mission also traveled to the island of San Pedro for a site visit, to assess the areas that are being affected by Sargassum.
The final leg of the mission was Mexico. During June 26-29, 2022, the representatives of CRFM and PFR visited two (2) private sector companies, one which makes liquid fertilizer and soil enhancer from Sargassum, and the other which manufactures construction supplies from Sargassum.
“We were able to observe firsthand the effects of the Sargassum influx in the countries we visited. This allowed us to better understand the ongoing initiatives to utilize the Sargassum. The mission furthermore enabled us to make some critical connections with both private and public sector partners that will be useful as we move into the second phase of the Project,” said Ms. Sutherland, the Project Coordinator for CRFM.
Based on the information gathered during the tour and the analysis done on the samples that were collected in the first phase of the project, the focus will be on the formulation of liquid fertilizers and construction supplies.
The June 2022 Outlook of Sargassum blooms in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, recently published by the University of South Florida Optical Oceanography Lab said, “…the total Sargassum [in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Central Atlantic area] amount increased from ~18.8 million tons in May 2022 to ~24.2 million tons in June 2022, thus setting a new historical record.”