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CRFM Executive Director speaking with Marianne Sivertsen Næss, Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy and Gunnar Stølsvik, Specialist Director at the Blue Justice Secretariat

 

In the photo above: Marianne Sivertsen Næss, Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy and Gunnar Stølsvik, Specialist Director at the Blue Justice Secretariat (Photo credit: Peter A Murray, CRFM)

 

Oslofjord, Norway, 18 June 2024--The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and ten of its Member States–The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago– are attending the celebration of the 5th Anniversary of the Blue Justice Initiative, being held at the historical site Oscarsborg Fortress in the Oslofjord. CRFM Executive Director, Mr. Milton Haughton, and CRFM Advisor - Fisheries Management and Development, Mr. Peter A. Murray, were among the 130 people who joined Norwegian partners at the event.

In 2018, nine countries came together in Copenhagen, Denmark, to create the Declaration against transnational organized crime in the global fishing industry, known as the Copenhagen Declaration. In 2019, Norway, as the custodian of the Copenhagen Declaration, established the Blue Justice Initiative to assist States attain their aspirations.

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. Since then, 14 CRFM Member States have signed on to the declaration.

Several speakers addressed the gathering at the opening ceremony. Speaking on “Ocean on Norwegian Foreign Policy and Development Cooperation”, Trond Gabrielsen, Director, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that in 2019, Norway launched the Blue Justice Initiative to assist countries with implementing the Copenhagen Declaration. He noted that initially there was only 9 signatories, but today there are over 60 signatories.

Karianne Moen, Head of Section of crime prevention, Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, presented “A public administration perspective,” highlighting the need to develop a deeper understanding of other crimes related to the fisheries sector as well as the actions needed to combat illegal activities, including the formulation of international accords, intelligence sharing, and the use of technology to identify and track vessels utilized in illegal fishing and transnational organized crime in the sector.

In sharing “A global fisherman’s perspective,” Sverre Johansen, General Secretary, Norwegian Fisherman Association, underscored that for the majority of fishers who are operating legally, it is important to maintain their ability to compete and to secure their future business. He added that transnational organized crime has a severe effect on the economy, distorts markets, harms the environment, devastates consumer trust, and destroys business.

“How can learning institutions support Blue Justice,” Stig Jarle Hansen, Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, said that the efforts need to be global, intersectoral, and interdisciplinary.

Arve Dimmen, Director Navigation Technology and Maritime, Norwegian Coastal Administration, pointed to the critical importance of interagency collaboration and coordination to leverage the analytical insights derived from satellite and AIS frameworks. She spoke of “The importance of maritime surveillance,” for regulating and monitoring maritime traffic.

Norway's deployment of satellites and antennae networks across 30 locations was noted by Maja-Stina Ekstedt, Vice President Sustainability, KSAT, President NIFRO, among “The technological contribution to solutions.” She emphasized the need for cooperation across jurisdictions, to enhance monitoring of activities across ocean spaces using all available tools.

 

From the left: Tor Glistrup - Consultant Fisheries Inspector; Fatou Bensouda - Gambian Ambassador to Norway; Henrik Fredborg Larsen - Director UNDP Nordic Representation Office; Bjørg Sandkjær - Norwegian State Secretary for the Minister of International Development; Gunnar Stølsvik - Sekretariat of Blue Justice; Delores Kotze - South African Ambassador to Norway; Nina Vaaja - Director of Barents Watch. (Photo: Peter A Murray, CRFM)

 

Speaking at the subsequent Launch of the Global Investigative Ship Tracking User Portal (GLISTRUP), CRFM Executive Director, Mr. Milton Haughton, emphasized the need for urgent, enhanced, concerted measures to prevent, deter, and eliminate all forms of fisheries crimes.

"Fisheries crimes undermine the significant sacrifice that our countries and our law-abiding fishers make in order to conserve and protect the fish stocks and the marine ecosystem. In these difficult times, characterized by high levels of unemployment, high and rising import bills, growing food and nutrition insecurity, rising crime and social ills, as well as the enormous challenges brought on us by the negative impacts of climate change and ocean acidification we just continue to allow our fisheries and ocean resources to be plundered and destroyed, our conservation and management measures to be undermined, and the future of our countries and indeed our children damaged by fisheries crimes," Haughton said.

In October 2021, twelve CRFM Member States signed the Declaration together. Those Member States are The Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, The Turks and Caicos Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago. Several of those Ministers participated in the Blue Justice Conference 2023, held 23-24 March 2023 in UN City, Copenhagen, Denmark. On that occasion, two more CRFM Member States—Barbados and Dominica—became signatories to the international declaration.

 

- ENDS -

 


Video of the Celebration of the 5th Anniversary of the Blue Justice Initiative and the Launch of the Global Investigative Ship Tracking User Portal (GLISTRUP)

A CRFM participatory approach to developing a modern fisheries and aquaponics data management framework for Anguilla

Anguilla and CRFM Group Photo

Staff at the Fisheries and Marine Resource Unit, Anguilla, with members of the CRFM Secretariat Technical Team

 

BELIZE CITY, Wednesday, 12 June 2024 (CRFM)—A Technical Team of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat is collaborating with the Fisheries and Marine Resource Unit (FMRU) of Anguilla and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, under the European Union-funded Biodiversity Support Programme for ACP Coastal Environments (BioSPACE)  to develop a framework for a statistically sound data collection, management, and reporting system for the coastal and marine fisheries of Anguilla. This initiative is directly aligned with BioSPACE’s objective of providing support to national and local efforts aimed at assessing, protecting, managing, and sustainably using marine and terrestrial biodiversity.

“We chose to take a participatory approach to the development of the framework, so staff at Anguilla’s Fisheries and Marine Resource Unit were involved in the collection and analysis of data from fish landing sites, an aquaponics census, as well as biological samples from the fish trap reef fishery,” remarked Dr. Sandra Grant, Deputy Executive Director, CRFM Secretariat. “We took a novel approach by introducing digitization in data collection and management, and we will use the information captured to design a statistically sound data system for Anguilla.”

The CRFM Technical Team—comprised of Dr. Grant – CRFM Deputy Executive Director, Mrs. Junes Masters – CRFM Statistics and Information Analyst, and Dr. Pranaya Parida – CRFM Fisheries Scientist—visited Anguilla to provide hands-on training, to strengthen the capacity of the FMRU. The training was delivered in two phases. From 13-15 May 2024, there were online sessions on data collection and analysis, and from 21-28 May 2024, there was an in-person census of fish landing sites and aquaponics facilities, biological sampling of major fish groups, and analysis of the data collected. A total of 12 persons benefited from the capacity-building activities.

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The CRFM Technical Team supported Anguilla with conducting a census of fish landing and aquaponics sites using digital tools. (Photo: FMRU)

 

Building upon previous work done by Fisheries authorities in Anguilla, the census helped to capture data, using digital technologies, on 145 fishing vessels as well as fish landing sites and aquaponics facilities. The support provided by the CRFM to update and streamline processes will strengthen Anguilla’s vessel registration and licensing systems and support evidence-based management of its fisheries. Furthermore, the collection and analysis of biological data—weight, length, sex, and maturity—from 10 species of sampled finfish, contribute towards deeper understanding of the status of the fish stocks upon which Anguilla depends for food security and the sustainable livelihoods of fishers.

The CRFM Technical Team led the analysis, verification, and validation of the data captured, providing valuable information and insights to the Fisheries and Marine Resource Unit of Anguilla, thereby empowering the CRFM Member State to utilize modern tools to improve its management and oversight of the sector.

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Using a hands-on approach, the capacity of the Fisheries staff to capture biological and other data using Kobo Toolbox as a digital tool was strengthened. (Photo: FMRU)

 

“Evidence-based decision-making is critical for fisheries management and updating the Anguilla Fisheries Development Plan. The quality of national fishery statistics depends on adequate funding for the adoption of measures necessary to improve and maintain data quality. The workshops were timely as there are a number of changes happening in fisheries, which could benefit from this sort of training—one of the most impactful changes being amendments to the Fisheries and Marine Parks legislation, for sustainable fisheries development and coastal protection,” noted Kafi Wallace, Director, Fisheries and Marine Resource Unit, Anguilla. She also emphasized the commitment of the Fisheries Unit to engage stakeholders and share the data generated during the recent exercise.

 

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The staff of the FMRU actively participated in the analysis of the captured data. (Photo: FMRU)

 

“This hand-on training was well delivered by the CRFM team, and I greatly appreciate that it was delivered by the CRFM, as a regional CARICOM institution that understands our fisheries and recognises our limitations. The ability to make data-driven decisions is a crucial element of good Fisheries management. This training has modernised our ability to do this. I loved that the introduction of the Kobo Toolbox will expediate the data collection and analysis process and help us to reduce the chances of user-generated errors,” remarked Remone Johnson, Fisheries Manager, FMRU, Anguilla.

“As it relates to staff, the training has done three things, in my opinion. One: the immediate digitization reduced staff workload and allowed us to concentrate on other matters. Two: the training has reinforced to us that we need to collect good quality data in the first instance, which is essential. Three: the training has bolstered the relationship between the data analyst and the data collectors. This, again, is expected to reduce errors and improve the quality of the data we produce,” he added.

The EU-funded BioSPACE Project is a support programme that was developed to contribute to the sustainable development of ACP Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and coastal countries, while at the same time supporting efforts towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). BioSPACE supports the CRFM’s commitment to improving the quality of national and regional data systems in accordance with the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy by building the institutional capabilities of Members to conduct research, collect, and analyse data; improve networking and collaboration among Members; formulate and implement policies; and make decisions.

The CRFM Team thanks the Fisheries and Marine Resource Unit for its continued dedication to improving the lives of fishers and their communities, and the OECS Commission and the EU for the support provided under this project towards strengthening the sustainability and resilience of the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector.

 

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BUCAYJnl 400x400Belize City, Friday, 26 April 2024 (CRFM)—Ministers of responsible for Fisheries, Aquaculture, and the Blue Economy from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) deliberated today, Friday, 26 April, at the 18th Regular Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the CRFM on the priority actions needed to advance sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, while addressing critical matters such as evidence-based decision-making; climate resilience, including insurance for fishers; illegal unreported, and unregulated fishing; Sargassum seaweed; bolstering regional and global trade; capacity building and knowledge management; and growing the Caribbean blue economy.

Senator the Honourable Avinash Singh, Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Trinidad and Tobago, Outgoing Chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council, handed over the chairmanship to Honourable Josephine Olivia Connolly, Minister of Tourism, Environment, Fisheries and Marine Affairs, Culture and Heritage, Agriculture and Religious Affairs, The Turks and Caicos Islands.

During today’s proceedings, the Ministers approved 32 resolutions providing policy direction and guidance on a wide range of matters such as the updated CARICOM Common Fisheries Policy; training of personnel; improving sanitary and phytosanitary systems for seafood safety and trade; the development of safe products made from Sargassum for use in the agriculture sector; empowering small-scale fishers; collaboration with regional and international development partners; and the assessment and management of various fish species, including pelagic species, shrimp and groundfish, dolphinfish, and flyingfish. The resolutions also addressed the CRFM’s request to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) for the RV Dr. Fridtjof Nansen to conduct a comprehensive, independent marine resource survey in CARICOM; combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and fisheries crimes; the World Trade Organization Fisheries Subsidies Agreement; engagement between the CRFM Member States and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA of the USA), regarding recovery of queen conch stocks; and the development of international legally binding instruments on plastic pollution.

The Council also deliberated upon the latest developments with respect to the decision by US authorities to list the Queen Conch as a threatened species under its Endangered Species Act, which has implications for trade. The Council, therefore, provided direction to CRFM Member States for ensuring a coordinated and collaborative approach across the region to the ongoing engagement on the rules and measures that the US authorities would impose to address the conservation, management, and recovery of the species.

The Ministers also provided guidance on several CRFM projects, including the New Zealand-funded Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience Project, being implemented by the CRFM in partnership with the New Zealand Institute of Plant and Food Research, to support valorization and use of Sargassum seaweed; the CAF / FAO / CRFM / GEF Caribbean Blue Economy Project entitled: Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus (BE-CLME+ Project), as well as other new initiatives for strengthening climate resilience in the Fisheries sector of CRFM Member States and strategically positioning small-scale fisheries and aquaculture within the Caribbean blue economy landscape.

Another important item on the Ministerial Council’s agenda was improving data collection on Fisheries through strengthening data collection and management systems in CRFM Member States and promoting aquaculture development.

The Executive Director of the CRFM, Milton Haughton, said, “The ocean space and marine resources constitute the most valuable natural resources available to our countries, and we need to continue to accelerate actions to both protect and realize the full potential of these valuable resources, recognizing that pollution, habitat destruction, climate change, and irresponsible fishing pose significant threats to the health and productivity of our oceans and benefits they provide to our economies.” He also expressed satisfaction with the ongoing positive developments in the region in building capacity, strengthening collaboration and partnerships, mobilizing resources, and implementing policy reforms to achieve sustainable development and conservation of the marine resources.

In his opening remarks to the Council, Minister Singh reflected upon the CRFM’s achievements during the past year: “Significant strides have been made. We hosted critical meetings, including the 17th Regular and the 13th Special Meetings of the Ministerial Council, during which we adopted 39 resolutions [and 2 special resolutions intersessionally] aimed at enhancing the management and sustainability of our marine resources. This past year also saw the implementation of 31 capacity-building events, the participation of over 2,300 stakeholders, and the completion of several strategic assessments and surveys that are critical for informed decision-making.”

He added that, “The fisheries and aquaculture sector remains a cornerstone of economic stability and food security in our region, employing hundreds of thousands and contributing significantly to our national GDPs. Our recent data show a promising increase in both production and employment within the sector, reinforcing the importance of our continued focus and investment.”

The latest information compiled by the CRFM Secretariat on the status and trends across Member States indicates that the ex-vessel value of marine capture fisheries production was 527 million US dollars during 2022, as well as 47 million US dollars in value from both inland aquaculture and mariculture, accounting for a total production value of 574 million US dollars.

Fisheries and aquaculture employ roughly 6% of the labor force in CRFM Member States and contribute up to 3% to national GDPs, with an estimated 550,000 workers benefiting through their active participation, including 138,000 employed in direct production and the others engaged in the supply of goods and services. Notably, the estimated growth in employment for the fisheries and aquaculture sector during 2022 was about 3%.

The Council also approved the CRFM’s Whistleblower Policy 2024, and the new biennial work plan and budget for the 2024-2025, intended to promote further growth and sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture sector across the Caribbean.

 

Consultancy to develop Implementation Plan and First Year Annual Work Plan for the Sustainable Technologies for Adaptation and Resilience in Fisheries (STAR-Fish) project, funded  by Global Affairs Canada.

DATE:    15 April 2024
TITLE: Consultancy to develop STAR-Fish Project Implementation Plan and First Year Annual Work Plan
CATEGORY:  Consultancy
PROJECT/ORGANIZATION: CRFM
DEADLINE: 26 April 2024
CALL FOR EOI: Click here
TERMS OF REFERENCE: Click here
STATUS: Open

 

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Belize City, Friday, 12 April 2024 (CRFM)—A multi-country mission to monitor progress with the regional Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience Project, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has recently concluded. Representatives from the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited (PFR) met with key partners in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica in February and March 2024, to review progress and plan future activities. Based on the successful outcome of recent scientific studies and greenhouse trials for a Sargassum-derived liquid fertilizer, the partners will commence field trials within the next few weeks. These efforts, which will be advanced in collaboration with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and regional private sector partners, signal promising progress towards valorization of Sargassum and strengthening the Caribbean’s food security and climate resilience.

 

Sargassum-derived plant growth enhancer can be used to grow vegetables

 

 

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of fertilizers has skyrocketed, and farmers across the region need more affordable, high-quality fertilizers to improve their yields, especially in the stressful environment brought about by warmer temperatures and drought conditions. Anything that we can do to improve the supply and reduce costs and dependence on imports will be impactful,” Milton Haughton, Executive Director, CRFM Secretariat, stated.

 

“The project is working with multiple reputable research organizations to ensure a strong evidenced-based approach to the product development process. We understand the complex nature of the Sargassum issue and concerns in the agricultural sector and are prioritizing human, environmental and plant health in our research and development,” Sophie Jones-Williams, PFR’s Program Manager - International Development, said.

 

“We are excited about the positive results achieved thus far towards developing a safe and effective liquid fertilizer for the agriculture sector, and the potential for scaling out for wider impact across the Caribbean. Efforts to optimize the fertilizer production process, based on the greenhouse trials, are underway. The CRFM and PFR are working in collaboration with researchers at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, as well as CARDI and the private sector, to ensure that the project taps into the best expertise available in the region. Sargassum is a versatile, natural, renewable marine living resource that, if harvested and used safely and sustainably, could birth new economic opportunities for fishers and coastal communities, as well as entrepreneurs across the region, contributing to the realization of the vision of blue economic growth,” Haughton added.

 

The project's two main guiding principles are the circular economy approach, which ensures total utilization of the Sargassum, including conversion of the residue or waste into other products; and the precautionary principle, which ensures that adequate caution is taken when there is uncertainty and a risk of harm.

 

This is in keeping with the overall aim of the Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience Project, to mitigate the environmental and economic impacts of Sargassum influxes in affected Caribbean countries through the creation of inclusive value chains for Sargassum seaweed. Since the inception of the project in 2020, the CRFM and PFR have been working diligently to develop safe harvesting and handling techniques. They have been rigorously testing to ensure safety from hazardous heavy metals throughout the process of product development, all along the value chain—from harvesting through to pilot scale production, as well as greenhouse trials that utilized the prototype product to grow vegetables. This effort builds upon the CRFM’s prior  work, since 2015, to address the persistent problem of recurring Sargassum inundations which have been plaguing the region for the past 13 years.

 

The region has been seeing high levels of Sargassum inundations almost every year since 2011, and this regional project focuses on developing processes by which the Sargassum can be transformed from a bane to blessing for the Caribbean economy, using science, technology, and evidence-based decision-making to produce safe and viable commercial products. Although the Caribbean Sea continued to be largely free of Sargassum since the beginning of 2024, the eastern Caribbean Sea is starting to receive large quantities of Sargassum from the central Atlantic, and this trend is likely to continue with increasing inundation of the coastal waters and beaches of several CRFM countries during the coming months.

 

The final phase of the PFR-CRFM Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience Project will focus on outreach and supply chain development, which would entail the dissemination of a workable model to Caribbean industry stakeholders.

 

– ENDS –

 

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BELIZE CITY, Thursday, 28 March 2024 (CRFM)—The five-day Joint Stock Assessment Workshop and Stakeholder Consultation for the Atlantic seabob shrimp fisheries of Guyana and Suriname, held in Guyana from 11-15 March 2024, ended with a renewed commitment. Technical experts from the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat, the Continental Shelf Fisheries Working Group (CSWG), FISH4ACP, and private sector processors agreed to keep all hands on deck to steer the fisheries towards greater sustainability.

 

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Caribbean technical experts from the CRFM Secretariat, the Continental Shelf Fisheries Working Group (CSWG), FISH4ACP, and private sector processors collaborated for a joint stock assessment of the seabob fisheries of Guyana and Suriname

Photo: FISH4ACP, Guyana

  

This recent stock assessment was critical for revealing stock trends and changes in relative abundance of the seabob, enabling the technical experts to provide management advice for both fisheries in Guyana and Suriname.

 

“You must admit that stock assessments are becoming increasingly important to assess the sustainability of the region’s fisheries. The approach used here—governments and the private sector working together—is one that we should follow across all CRFM Member States,” said Dr. Sandra Grant, Deputy Executive Director, CRFM Secretariat.

 

Stephen Hall - Fleet operations (and former captain) at Heiploeg Suriname N.V., who has been a seaman for 32 years, said: “The most important thing that I learned coming out of this meeting is that there is still work to be done.” He said that he plans to continue working with the Fisheries Department in Suriname to advance the scientific assessments. He noted that the workshop and stakeholder consultation helped to strengthen their capacity for future work.

 

Jude Jagroop - Director at Heiploeg Suriname N.V., who has been working in the sector for 31 years, explained that the operations of the company, which has approximately 200 workers, extends along the supply chain—from fishing to processing. He noted that the seabob catches have declined, but he believes that the stock is healthy, although the species distribution may have shifted to more inshore locations.

 

Jagroop said that the company has two representatives on the Suriname  Seabob Working Group, and it sponsors all the costs incurred to deploy the vessels to collect data with the Fisheries Department. He added that the company also facilitates the accommodation of the Fisheries Department observers whenever needed. One of the critical improvements he cited is the need to enhance the efficiency of data capture through digitization.

 

Rob Banning, Project Development Manager, Parlevliet & Van der Plas, The Netherlands, highlighted the importance of certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). He said that MSC certification gives consumers extra confidence that when they buy fisheries products, they are coming from a sustainably managed resource. He added that the MSC certification labels are required for companies to sell their produce in Europe and the US, and without this certification, companies have very limited market access, and they have to sell at lower prices.

 

The Seabob Working Groups of Guyana and Suriname have been charged with leading the implementation of the outcomes and recommendations from the joint stock assessment workshop. Muriel Wirjodirjo, chair of the Suriname Seabob Working Group, said that they conduct a monthly review and analysis of the fisheries, consistent with the ecosystem, precautionary, and participatory approaches. The CRFM CSWG, which provides technical support to the national working groups, promotes the sustainable utilization of continental shelf resources and associated ecosystems through the review and analysis of fisheries and related data, to inform management strategies.

 

– END –

 

For further information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Belize City, Monday, 25 March 2024 (CRFM)—As the global discussion continues on the elimination of harmful subsidies to the fisheries sector, following the adoption of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference on 17 June 2022, Caribbean countries have been engaged on its far-reaching implications. The WTO Agreement sets new, binding, multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread overfishing of the world’s fish stocks. Specifically, the Agreement prohibits subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, for utilizing overfished stocks, and for fishing on the unregulated high seas. Implementation of this Agreement will contribute to the fulfillment of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal target 14.6.

 

The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the CARICOM Secretariat, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and WTO are co-hosting the 2nd Regional Technical Workshop on the Ratification and Implementation of the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement in CARICOM Member States. The purpose of the event—which is bringing together Caribbean senior Trade and Fisheries officials and representatives from partner organizations in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 25-26 March 2024—is to provide resources and tools to guide ratification and implementation of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.

 

The Technical Workshop will also help to chart a way forward for the implementation of the Agreement and strengthen the capacity of national Fisheries and Trade Officials to implement the Agreement. It will also build upon the outcomes of the first technical workshop on Fisheries Subsidies for the Caribbean region held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 17-19 January 2023. The ongoing second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations, which seek to develop additional provisions on subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, will also be discussed, with reference to the recently held 13th WTO Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi.

 

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The Keynote Speaker for the Opening Ceremony will be the Hon. Kerrie Symmonds, M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Senior Minister coordinating the Productive Sector, of Barbados. Ambassador Wayne McCook, Assistant Secretary-General, CARICOM Single Market and Trade, and Therese Turner-Jones, Vice-President (Operations)(Ag.) at the Caribbean Development Bank, will also deliver remarks during the Opening Ceremony.

 

Milton Haughton, Executive Director, CRFM Secretariat, will also present remarks during the Opening Ceremony and later lead off the technical engagement with a presentation on Sustainable Fisheries Management and Development in the Caribbean in the context of fisheries subsidies. Clarisse Morgan, Director - Rules Division at the WTO Secretariat, will deliver remarks as well as an Overview of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, and Chantal Ononaiwu, Director of External Trade at the CARICOM Secretariat, will present on the second wave of negotiations on Fisheries Subsidies.

 

As of 12 March 2024, 71 countries had ratified the WTO Fisheries Subsidies Agreement, including five (5) CRFM Member States: Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Haiti, and Saint Lucia. According to the World Trade Organization, for the Agreement to enter into force, two-thirds of WTO members (or 109 countries) must formally accept the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies by depositing an “instrument of acceptance” with the WTO. Once the Agreement enters into force, it will remain open for acceptance by any other WTO member and will take effect for that new signatory as soon as its instrument of acceptance is deposited with the WTO.

 

Member States will speak on their internal processes and approaches towards ratification and implementation of the WTO Agreement, including any challenges experienced. International and regional organizations providing technical assistance and capacity building support will provide details on opportunities available to support countries with implementation of the agreement once it has come into force.

 

This week’s technical workshop also provides a forum for other regional and international organizations, fisherfolk, donors, non-CARICOM countries, and private sector representatives who would be directly or indirectly impacted by the Subsidies Agreement to be engaged on this critical matter.

 

It is expected that at the conclusion of the 2nd Regional Technical Workshop on the Ratification and Implementation of the WTO Fisheries Subsidies Agreement, Caribbean countries will be better equipped to chart the way forward for the ratification and implementation of the Agreement.

 

—Ends—

 

Guyana fisheries sectorThe fisheries sector in Guyana provides sustainable jobs for thousands of artisanal fishers (Photo: FISH4ACP, Guyana)

GUYANA, Tuesday, 12 March 2024 (CRFM)—A technical working group of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM)—the Continental Shelf Fisheries Working Group (CSWG)—is collaborating with the global value chain development programme – FISH4ACP, private sector processors, and the Seabob Working Groups of Guyana and Suriname to convene a joint stock assessment workshop in Guyana from 11-15 March 2024.

The assessment of the seabob, a short-lived shallow water shrimp found in the Western Central Atlantic, will cover the stocks of Guyana and Suriname, situated in the North Brazilian Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem. The assessment aims to review and validate the most recent scientific evaluations of the Atlantic seabob fisheries of Suriname and Guyana. The results will be shared with industrial and artisanal fishery stakeholders from Guyana and Suriname for their input during the last two days of the workshop, on 14-15 March 2024.

During the workshop, regional and international technical experts will propose harvest control rules (HCRs) and the related fisheries management plans, taking into account compliance with Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification requirements. The seabob fisheries in both Guyana and Suriname are MSC certified; Suriname’s fishery was first certified in 2011 and Guyana’s fishery in 2019.

The Seabob Working Groups of Guyana and Suriname—which are made up of representatives from the respective Fisheries Departments, the industrial and artisanal seabob sectors, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)—will subsequently lead the implementation of the outcomes and recommendations from the meeting.

The CRFM CSWG aims to promote the sustainable utilization of continental shelf resources and associated ecosystems through the review and analysis of fisheries and related data, to inform management strategies, consistent with the ecosystem, precautionary and participatory approaches to fisheries management.

FISH4ACP is a five-year fish value chain development programme, spanning 2020 to 2025. It is being implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with funding from the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In Guyana, FISH4ACP is working towards a sustainable, resilient, well-managed, and inclusive shrimp fishery to strengthen the country’s position as a leading exporter of Atlantic seabob shrimp while ensuring long-term stability of stocks and bringing more benefits to local fisherfolk, especially women.

The CRFM collaborates with  FAO on the implementation of FISH4ACP.

- ENDS -

Opening Ceremony - Joint CFRM CSWG & FISH4ACP Seabob Stock Assessment

 Photos shared on Flickr courtesy FISH4ACP Guyana (Dawn Maison)

 


LISTEN TO THE OPENING CEREMONY RECORDING

 

Belize City, Friday, 8 March 2024 (CRFM)—Several Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), as well as representatives of regional and international observer organizations, including the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), met from Wednesday, 6 March to Friday, 8 March 2024, to deliberate on developments in fisheries and aquaculture. The CRFM convened this 22nd Regular Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum to receive technical inputs from national fisheries authorities across the Caribbean, as well as key stakeholders and partners, in addressing the priorities of the sector.

The Forum also held elections for a new chair and vice chair, as well as members of the Executive Committee of the Forum and the Resource Mobilization Sub-committee. Trinidad and Tobago, which served as chair of the Forum for the past year, handed over the leadership to the Turks and Caicos Islands. After the elections, Kathy Lockhart, Assistant Director of Fisheries, Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources Management, Turks and Caicos Islands, assumed the Chair, succeeding Louanna Martin, Acting Director of Fisheries, Fisheries Division, Trinidad and Tobago.

TCI assumes chair of Forum

 

In welcoming attendees to the Forum Meeting, Martin highlighted the value of the CRFM, an intergovernmental institution of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), to Trinidad and Tobago, one of its 17 Member States. She said that the CRFM has been very instrumental in helping to address the myriad issues that confront the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

During the opening session, Milton Haughton, Executive Director at the CRFM Secretariat, noted that the Caribbean Fisheries Forum was meeting against the backdrop of myriad challenges as well as opportunities for harnessing the benefits of blue economic growth.

“Notwithstanding the various global crises—the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East—and the challenging economic situation in many of our countries, we have to continue to work hard to strengthen our economies and to provide new opportunities for growth, especially for the youth, which is very important for our future prosperity,” Haughton said.

He added that this prosperous future lies in utilizing the Caribbean’s aquatic resources and in developing the aquaculture potential—both on land and in the marine environment.

Haughton noted that although the CRFM has made significant strides in working with Caribbean countries over the past 21 years, there is still much more work to be done. He informed the Caribbean Fisheries Forum that the Government of Canada had recently approved CD$4.2 million in funding for the CRFM, for the Sustainable Technologies for Adaptation and Resilience in Fisheries (STAR-Fish) Project, which aims to advance the clean energy transition in the Caribbean fisheries and aquaculture sectors. He also highlighted the recent commencement of a US$48 million project being part-financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) titled, Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities Through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus ("BE-CLME+”), which aims to promote blue economy development through marine spatial planning and marine protected areas, an ecosystem approach to fisheries, and sustainable seafood value chains.

The Executive Director of the CRFM briefed the Forum on ongoing initiatives, such as the Strengthening Sustainable Use and Management of Coastal Fisheries Resources in CARICOM Countries (COASTFISH) Project, being implemented with funding from the Government of Japan, and the Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience Project, being funded by the Government of New Zealand.

He also updated the Forum on the work being done in partnership with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the University of the West Indies (UWI), to commence pilot scale production of a liquid fertilizer from Sargassum, as well as plans to ensure total and safe utilization of the resource by converting the by-products to other sustainable products.

Haughton also updated the Forum on the World Trade Organization (WTO) subsidies negotiations held last week, in Abu Dhabi, and he advised the Forum that the agreement was not finalized because significant differences remained among the countries. He advised the Member States of the critical need to pay keen attention to such international processes and to ensure that the Caribbean’s interests are defended and fully addressed, given the potential implications for the fisheries of Caribbean countries and the region.

The Forum’s deliberations, which are vital for forging the way forward for the sustainable development of the Caribbean’s aquatic resources, precede the upcoming 18th Regular Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council, comprised of Ministers responsible for fisheries from its 17 Caribbean Member States.

—Ends—

The CRFM Secretariat is pleased to share the following final calls for expressions of interest under the "BE-CLME+”: Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities Through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus Project. Please feel free to share these with anyone who you believe has the desired expertise to effectively execute the consultancies.

















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