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CRFM Communications

CRFM Communications

Website URL: http://www.crfm.net

"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 speciesall undermining our food and nutrition security..."

-- Mr. Milton Haughton, CRFM Excecutive Director

 

Published Thursday, 4 August 2022 by the CRFM Secretariat

 

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 exportcompounding 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 speciesall 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.

 

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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 sectorand 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.

 CRFM and Norway Collaborators at UN Ocean Conference Side Event Jun 2022

 

"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

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.

 Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran-2

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.

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Map © 2022 CRFM

 

 

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Mr. Gunnar A. Stølsvik

Image: CRFM

 

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

Caribbean Action Timeline on IUU Fishing and TNOC-2022

 

JAMAICA

"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-2

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:

  • Commence implementation of a vessel monitoring system for industrial fleet, with the intent to roll out to the small-scale / artisanal fleet;

  • Strengthening geospatial capacities, including the development of coastal radar mapping capabilities; and the staff of the National Fisheries Authority joining the Blue Justice Initiative and gaining access through secure log-ins to collaborate with others regionally and globally;

  • Advancing efforts to accede to the Port State Measures Agreement, which the Minister said can act as a deterrent by denying services to vessels found to be involved in IUU fishing;

  • Strengthening enforcement capacity through investments in resources for patrol and maritime surveillance;

  • Adopting regional and international arrangements and implementing agreed measures that are consistent with international law.

 

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.

 

BELIZE

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-2

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:

  • Enacting a new Fisheries Resources Act in 2020;

  • Establishing the Blue Bond Conservation Agreement in 2021, which supports enhanced monitoring against IUU fishing;

  • Signing the Copenhagen Declaration in 2021;

 

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-2

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:

  • Early adoption of the Port State Measures Agreement and other international agreements;

  • Government spending dedicated to building the capacity of the Coast Guard and to acquire the technical resources needed for monitoring its waters;

  • Banning the harvesting of marine turtles and moving to set both upper and lower size limits for certain species;

  • Advocating against the finning of sharks.

 

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

Dr. Emma Witbooi

 Image: CRFM

 “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-2

Mr. Joseph Cox

Image: CRFM

  

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.


 

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GALLERY ON YOUTUBE

 

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PHOTO ALBUM

 

 


 

#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.

 


 

Get-Ready

 

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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.

 

2022 Hurricane Names

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

 

 

The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) joins the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in celebrating its 49th year of existence! CARICOM's establishment on July 4, 1973 paved the way for the creation of this vibrant regional community, which we now serve. The CRFM is a specialized CARICOM Institution which was established in 2002 by CARICOM Heads of States, to promote sustainable use of the living marine and other aquatic resources by the development, efficient management, and conservation of such resources. We are committed to working together with all CARICOM Institutions, Member States and People to realize the vision & objectives of the integration process, towards socio-economic development and improving the quality of life of the People in the community.

 


 

OUR VISION

Effective management, conservation and sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture to maximize social and economic benefits in the CRFM Member States.

 

OUR MISSION

Promote and facilitate responsible and sustainable use of the region’s fisheries and other living aquatic resources for improved food security, livelihood, and welfare of the people of the region.

 

OUR ULTIMATE OUTCOMES

▪ Sustainable growth for all CARICOM Member States
▪ Reduced environmental vulnerability
▪ Improved quality of life for all the Community
▪ An integrated Community with equity for all

 

#IamCARICOM #CARICOMDAY2022

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Belize City, Friday, 24 June 2022 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the CARICOM institution designated as the region’s intergovernmental organization responsible for fisheries development and management, is partnering with Norway, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Blue Resilience Project, to host a high-level side event addressing organized crime in the global fisheries industry at the UN Oceans Conference 2022. The side event will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, on Wednesday, 29 June.

 

During the high-level side event, which will highlight international and regional measures to address fisheries crime towards reducing food security threats with innovative digital tools and inter-agency capacity support, CRFM’s Executive Director, Mr. Milton Haughton, will chair a panel on CARICOM’s regional instruments to address fisheries crime. This event advances the efforts of partners to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and transnational organized crime in the fishing industry, while protecting food security, employment, and the blue economy.

 

MS-Speakers

 

Hon. Pearnel Charles, Jr, MP - Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaica; Hon. Andre Perez - Minister of the Blue Economy & Civil Aviation, Belize; and Hon. Saboto Caesar - Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry & Labour, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, will join in this discussion on fisheries enforcement and the international and regional instruments to cooperatively tackle organized crime in the global fishing industry. Also joining the panel will be Ms. Emma Witbooi, Project Manager of Blue Resilience, UNDP; and Mr. Gunnar A. Stølsvik, Specialist Director, Fisheries Department at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.

This is the first time the CRFM is collaborating with Norway to raise the profile of this issue at the UN Oceans Conference, and it serves to strengthen the alliance which began to be forged after the CRFM and its Member States endorsed the International Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry (also known as ‘the Copenhagen Declaration’) and affirmed their support for the Blue Justice Initiative. Belize, Jamaica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are among the 12 CRFM Member States which signed the Copenhagen Declaration in October 2021.

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NOTE TO EDITORS:

 

Website & Registration Link:https://bluejustice.org/un-ocean-conference-2022/

Live stream link: https://app.livecasts.eu/international-and-caribbean-efforts-to-address-organised-crime-in-the-fishing-industry/program

Date: Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Time: 15:45-17:15 CET (equivalent to 8:45 a.m. in Belize, 9:45 a.m. in

Jamaica, and 10:45 a.m. in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.)

 

Follow event on the CRFM’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/CarFisheries

 

 

On Monday, 6 June 2022, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines celebrated its 45th National Fisherfolk Day under the theme “Collective action for a safe and resilient Caribbean Fisheries.”The fish catch competition was one of the highlights of the day, with a total of 2,798.31 pounds of fish being caught by 14 boats. The boat ‘Humble Me,’ captained by Earl Medford brought in the heaviest catch of 411 pounds.

 

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FB IMG 1654784886358During the celebrations, the Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour (MAFFRTIL), the Honourable Saboto Caesar, and the Chief Fisheries Officer, Mrs. Jennifer Cruickshank-Howard, encouraged young people to become involved in the fisheries sector and noted that a training program targeting them would soon be launched. Special mention was also made of the recently launched Fleet Expansion Program, which is aimed at poverty alleviation, wealth creation, improving food security and the sustainable usage of the blue economy’s resources. This was the first time since 2019 that there were in-person activities and celebrations given the COVID-19 pandemic and the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in 2021. The Minister pointed out that while the celebrations were scaled down due to the current COVID-19 protocols and the two-year hiatus, they were welcomed by all stakeholders and plans for the 46th celebrations were already in the pipeline.

 

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The Minister was the chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council from 2021-2022 and is an International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA) 2022 Champion. His selection as a champion recognizes his commitment to ensuring and safeguarding the social and ecological sustainability of small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in the region.

 

Photos courtesy: Communication Unit - Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour (MAFFRTIL), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

 

 

Belize City, Monday, 25 April 2022 (CRFM)—Fisheries Ministers from countries that comprise the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) met on Friday, 22 April 2022, at their 16th Regular Meeting, to advance the institution’s strategic actions to build resilience and boost sustainable fisheries and aquaculture production, through targeted initiatives aimed at maximizing sustainable blue economic growth and improving access to international markets, while tackling the scourge of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and transnational organized crime in the industry.

 


  

Ministers highlight importance of blue economic growth in reversing declines in fish production and exports resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and in accelerating regional economic development

 


 

Before handing over the mantle of leadership to Suriname, the outgoing chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council, Hon. Saboto Ceasar, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry and Fisheries of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, emphasized that whereas much had been achieved during the previous year, significant work remained to be done. He informed the meeting that at the 37th session of the FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean (LARC37) held in Ecuador in March 2022, the CRFM Member States reiterated the request to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), for the deployment of the Norwegian Research Vessel (RV) Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, to conduct an independent marine resource survey  of the marine living resources in the waters under the jurisdiction of CARICOM States. During this 16th Meeting of the Ministerial Council, the Ministers reiterated the crucial importance of moving ahead with the research, as it would provide an invaluable evidence base to drive  informed blue economic development across the region, and expedite the region’s economic rebound and recovery from the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fisheries and aquaculture sector, which is already beginning to show positive signs of revitalization with more fishers and vessels returning to sea. The Meeting also discussed other ongoing initiatives to strengthen capacity for evidence-based decision making, including the Iceland-funded CARICE Project and FAO/WECAFC-Fisheries Resources Monitoring System (FIRMS) partnership.

 

Hon. Parmanand Sewdien, Suriname’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, elected as the new chair of the CRFM Ministerial, presided over the deliberations. The Ministers received updates on several initiatives being implemented by the CRFM Secretariat and Member States in collaboration with regional and international development partners, in the context of the Third CRFM Strategic Plan, spanning 2022 to 2030. These include the US$48 million CAF-FAO-CRFM-GEF supported project on Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus project (BE-CLME+), which the CRFM hopes will commence later in 2022. The Ministers affirmed that this initiative could contribute greatly to the realization of the target set by the CARICOM Heads of Government at their meeting held during March 2022, to reduce the region’s overall food import bill of around US$5-6 billion by 25% by 2025.

 

Additionally, the Ministers discussed initiatives which the CRFM and its Member States are undertaking to address the Sargassum inundations that have been affecting the region, including efforts to explore opportunities, through a partnership with New Zealand, to safely harvest Sargassum for the development of products that would enhance the region’s economic and climate resilience. This is being pursued under a three-year project, spanning 2021 to 2023, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and implemented jointly by the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited (PFR) and the CRFM.

 

The Ministers also dealt with the vital need for strengthening the region’s access to international markets, through enhancing fish and seafood quality and safety, with enhanced sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. The CRFM Secretariat and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), through the 11th European Development Fund SPS Project, continue to work with Member States and the private sector to build their trading capacity, thereby also contributing to the wider goal of slashing the region’s import bill over the next three years. They also considered the progress of the ongoing negotiations at the World Trade Organisation to prohibit the provision of certain fisheries subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated (or IUU) fishing and overfishing.

 

The Ministerial Council gave the greenlight for the CRFM Secretariat to work with development partners to facilitate knowledge and technology transfer for integrated multitrophic aquaculture—which enables cost-effective and environmentally friendly expansion of aquaculture, including mariculture. The Ministers also welcomed positive news on the progress of activities under the Japan-funded COASTFISH project, which builds upon a previous Japan-funded co-management project in the region, which has strengthened the conservation, management and sustainable use of coastal marine resources through greater involvement of fishers and coastal communities.

 

The United Nations has declared 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA), to celebrate and improve awareness of the significant role of  small-scale fishers. In welcoming the IYAFA celebrations, the Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the small-scale fisheries and aquaculture for employment, livelihoods, food security and nutrition, and health and wellbeing of the people of the region and acknowledged the CRFM’s preparation of a series of activities, including a high-level policy dialogue with fishers to mainstream small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in the ongoing blue economy dialogue.

 


 

HonSingh

Hon. Avinash Singh, represented the Ministry of Agriculture,
Land and Fisheries, Trinidad and Tobago, elected as vice chair
(Official photo courtesy Trinidad and Tobago)


 

Trinidad and Tobago, represented by Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries – Senator the Honourable Avinash Singh, was elected as vice chair at the meeting and is, therefore, next in line to assume the chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council in 2023, when the CRFM will commemorate the 20th anniversary since its launch with a series of activities that the Ministers approved during this 16th Meeting of the Council.

 

The CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, said that this was a very productive meeting. He noted that the Ministers recognized the urgency of addressing the challenges facing the sector and made several decisions that will contribute to a more sustainable, resilient, and productive fisheries and aquaculture sector and ultimately to improved national and regional economic growth, food security and nutrition, livelihoods and well-being of the people of the region.

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Belize City, Friday, 8 April 2022 (CRFM)—Several Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are participating in the 7th Meeting of Ministers in Charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), being hosted in Accra, Ghana, 5-8 April 2022.

The Ministerial Meeting, which opened on 7 April, was preceded by two days of engagements in which senior technical officials from eight (8) CRFM Member States and the Dominican Republic, joined by the Executive Director of the CRFM Secretariat in Belize, had an opportunity to collaborate with their counterparts from Africa and the Pacific region to formulate recommendations for Ministerial action. The decisions of this Ministerial Meeting of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) would form the basis for activities in its two-year workplan for the cross-regional organization.

OACPS is an organization comprised of seventy-nine (79) Member States from three (3) regional blocs: Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. It works towards sustainable development and poverty reduction within its Member States and greater integration into the world’s economy. It is against this backdrop that the organization places strong emphasis on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, while promoting a vision for the OACPS Blue Economy Agenda 2030.

Many of the items on the meeting's agenda have also been on the table at regional meetings of the CRFM. These include blue economic growth based on the marine resources; strengthening sustainable small-scale fisheries to improve livelihoods, food security and nutrition in the region; preventing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which the CRFM believes should encompass the broader issue of organized crime in the fishing industry. This region advocates for stronger international and regional cooperation as well as stronger sanctions and penalties in law to effectively deter IUU fishing and other criminal activities associated with it, including human, drugs and arms trafficking, money laundering, and seafood fraud.

The Ministers agreed to scale up sustainable and inclusive fisheries and aquaculture value chains. They also discussed and agreed to take action to strengthen ocean-based programs for adaptation and mitigation of Climate Change and ocean acidification as well as preserving maritime spaces of Member States amid receding baselines resulting from sea-level rise and coastal erosion due to changing climate.

 

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