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BELIZE CITY, FRIDAY, 4 OCTOBER 2019 (CRFM)—After several hours of deliberation at their Second Joint Meeting held in Belize on Wednesday, 2 October 2019, Fisheries Ministers from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the Organization for Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA) inked a milestone instrument. The “Declaration on CRFM-OSPESCA Cooperation for Sustainable Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources” signals their resolve to solidify the cooperation birthed at their first joint meeting held in Belize 7 years earlier, in 2012.

 

Among the agreed areas of cooperation are: monitoring and managing Sargassum blooms which have been adversely affecting the region since 2011; the control of invasive species, with emphasis on the Pacific lionfish; and the development of small-scale fisheries to ensure the protection of livelihoods and food security. The renewed alliance will also support the implementation of fisheries management plans for shared stocks, such as spiny lobster, queen conch and migratory pelagic species; programmes on climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries and aquaculture; as well as ocean-based fisheries and aquaculture economic activities, including value chain development.

 

The CRFM and OSPESCA countries have, furthermore, pledged to develop coordinated positions on international processes, such as the listing of threatened and endangered species under CITES; fisheries subsidies negotiations led by the WTO; and the UN conference to develop a legally-binding agreement on conservation, management and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

 

Reps from Grenada and Guatemala sign joint declaration

Representatives from Grenada and Guatemala sign joint declaration (Photo: CRFM)

 

In signing the Joint Declaration, the Fisheries Ministers also approved the Second Joint CRFM-OSPESCA Action Plan (2020 to 2025), which is a 5-year roadmap to guide collaborative programmes and activities agreed in the declaration by the two sub-regional organisations.

 

Among the commitments made is that, “The CRFM and OSPESCA Secretariats and Member States will work together to strengthen cooperation to deter, prevent and eliminate IUU [Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated] fishing in the region.”

 

At the opening of the meeting, Keynote Speaker, Hon. Dr. Omar Figueroa, Belize’s Minister of State with responsibility for Fisheries, said: “IUU Fishing is undoubtedly causing damage to our fish populations in our countries, and we must continue to actively identify and implement tangible and effective actions on a bilateral or sub-regional level to curb these illicit activities.”

 

Prior to the meeting with OSPESCA, the CRFM Ministerial Council held its 9th Special Meeting, at which it approved the Regional Plan of Action on IUU Fishing for the Western Central Atlantic region, with a commitment to developing a CARICOM-specific Action Plan. The Jamaican delegation pointed out to their counterparts that IUU fishing recently forced them to impose a moratorium on their conch fishery, resulting in multi-million-dollar losses for the country, its export sector and fishers. Their hope is that the collaboration with OSPESCA will help to effectively prevent and deter IUU fishing in Caribbean waters.

 

Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM Secretariat, added that, “It is the recognition that we share a common interest and a common destiny in the sustainable use and protection of the Caribbean Sea and its living marine resources and ecosystems that inspires and underpins the partnership that is developing between the Caribbean and Central American sub-regions in fisheries and aquaculture.”

 

Hon. Eugene Hamilton, Chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council and Minister Responsible for Fisheries in Saint Kitts and Nevis, said: “It is predicted that 90% of the world’s fish protein will come from aquaculture by 2050.” He, consequently, urged the countries, generally regarded as small island developing states and coastal states, to work together to develop aquaculture.

 

Norma Lobo, General Director for the Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture, represented the Minister of Agriculture of El Salvador, Pro-Tempore Chairman of OSPESCA, at the meeting. In her brief remarks, she indicated that this was the first such meeting in which she has participated, and expressed her enthusiasm for learning more about the challenges faced by the region and, furthermore, working together to confront them.

 

 Haughton expressed optimism that, “This growing strategic partnership between our countries, our fisheries institutions and our stakeholders in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, will yield tangible mutual benefit from our collective experience, expertise and cooperation in addressing the common challenges we face.”

 

The UNDP-GEF Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) Project provided financial support to facilitate the convening of the meeting in Belize City, Belize. It has also been providing support to the CRFM, OSPESCA, FAO/WECAFC, UN Environment and other regional organisations to strengthen arrangements for improved governance and management of the fisheries resources and marine environment of the region.

 

  •       Access more photos from the event’s album on CRFM’s Facebook page HERE.
  •       View the signed Declaration in English HERE. (Access Spanish version HERE.)
  •       View CRFM-OSPESCA Action Plan in English HERE. (Access Spanish version HERE.)

 

Published in Press release

Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Montserrat, newly elected chair of the Council

 

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, WEDNESDAY, 23 May 2018 (CRFM)—Fisheries Ministers who recently attended the 12th Regular Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), held in Montserrat on Friday, 18 May 2018, endorsed a newly drafted protocol on Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the region.

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, noted that small-scale fisheries are the mainstay of the fisheries industry, both in the region and around the globe. He said that small-scale fisheries accounts for more than 95% of fisheries in CARICOM and are vital for food security and employment, particularly in coastal communities. Globally, it accounts for 90% of all the fisheries produced, Haughton said.

CRFM Executive Director Milton Haughton

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton

 

 

He explained that the Protocol had been developed within the framework of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP), accepted by CRFM Member States in 2014. The protocol, which addresses principles and standards for securing and strengthening small-scale fisheries, is the first protocol under the CCCFP, he added.

The Ministerial Council endorsed the Protocol and agreed on the need for immediate implementation. It, furthermore, called on regional and international development partners and donors to support the Protocol on small-scale fisheries and to assist Member States with implementing it as well as the CCCFP, to improve fisheries and aquaculture governance, as well as management in the region.

Outgoing chairman of the Ministerial Council, Hon. Noel Holder, M.P., Minister of Agriculture, Guyana, highlighted the need for government executives within CRFM Member States to help move the process forward.

He also flagged climate change, security at sea, and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing as three priority areas for the Caribbean’s fisheries sector. At the opening of the Meeting, Holder spoke of the destruction wrought by two catastrophic hurricanes, Irma and Maria, on some CRFM Member States last year, amid a period of above normal cyclonic events attributed to climate change.

Minister Holder completes tenure

Hon. Noel Holder, M.P., Minister of Agriculture, Guyana, outgoing chair of the Ministerial Council

 

On the issue of IUU fishing, Holder said that in CARICOM, 25% of catches are unreported and 5% are illegal, based on information published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Whereas illegal fishing is a problem – both globally and regionally – so too is piracy on the open waters. Minister Holder underscored during his remarks that the security of fishers as they traverse the waters of the Caribbean must be a high priority as the Council forges ahead. He spoke in light of the recently reported pirate attack off Suriname, feared to have claimed the lives of at least a dozen Guyanese fishers. The Minister said that his sympathies are with the families of the affected men.

Haughton noted that the Council meeting was taking place against the backdrop of a difficult and challenging period in the region for many countries, repositioning and reengineering their economies and preparing to address the “new normal” environment challenged by a changing climate, as well as warming and increasingly acidic waters.

Haughton cautioned, though, that the road ahead to building climate-smart, resilient economies; realize sustainable growth and development; and create jobs and prosperity for Caribbean people could prove difficult and challenging, but the CRFM’s resolve would not be broken.

He underscored that, “It is only through joint efforts that we can resolve the big problems, such as overfishing, climate change, marine pollution, invasive marine species, Sargassum seaweed inundation, [and] IUU fishing.”

The need for a united front was echoed by Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Montserrat.

“Fish know no boundaries. Let us, therefore, unite as ‘One Caribbean’ to conserve and sustainably use our oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development,” said Osborne, who was elected as the new chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council on Friday.

The Minister said that the Caribbean has its niche markets, which include fisheries, and he urged CRFM Member States “to step up to the plate and work with each other” in developing the sector sustainably.

The Ministerial Council also adopted a Policy Statement on fisheries co-Management and fisher engagement and participation, supported through a recently concluded project funded by Japan. The meeting also recognized the successful development of the fisheries using fish aggregating devices (FAD), which was supported by the Project. Although the Caribbean Fisheries Co-Management Project (CARIFICO) ended in April, the Council endorsed a call for the region to pursue continued fisheries cooperation with Japan, with which CARICOM has had a long-standing, productive relationship spanning more than two decades.

Published in Press release


BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, THURSDAY, 17 May 2018 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are expected to consider management plans for two vital fisheries, a protocol on small-scale fisheries and a policy on gender equality mainstreaming at their 12th Meeting, scheduled for Friday, 18 May 2018 in Montserrat.

At the upcoming meeting, Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment in Montserrat, will assume chairmanship of the CRFM Ministerial Council from Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture in Guyana. 

Minister Holder

Outgoing chair of the Ministerial Council, Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture, Guyana

High on the agenda are two fisheries management plans that the Ministers will be asked to approve: the Sub-Regional Fisheries Management Plan for Blackfin Tuna and the management plan for fisheries conducted using fish aggregating devices (FAD), which is a growing fishery in the region. 

The Ministers will also consider a protocol developed under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) to secure sustainable small-scale fisheries. The main objectives of the protocol are to enhance food security, improve the socioeconomic situation of fishworkers, and achieve sustainable use of fishery resources, through the promotion of a human-rights based approach.

In addition, the Ministers will discuss a regional policy aimed at mainstreaming gender equality in fisheries development, and management policies and programmes in CRFM Member States. 

Milton Haughton, the Executive Director of the CRFM, said, “The focus of this Ministerial Council meeting is on building resilience and equity in the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. The Ministers will, therefore, discuss and decide on a number of policy instruments designed to strengthen management and conservation of key fisheries and their ecosystems, and enhance governance through equity and equality, inclusiveness, and participatory planning and decision-making processes.”

The Ministerial Council will also consider a proposal to collaborate with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), to look at ways in which the region can access international support and funding to reduce ghost fishing in Caribbean waters. Ghost fishing becomes a concern when gears continue to fish after getting lost during natural disasters such as hurricanes. 

At Friday’s meeting, the Council will review progress made in implementing its earlier decisions, as well as the overall status and trends in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Advancements in fisheries research and development, the sustainable use and management of fisheries resources, aquaculture development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries, as well as capacity building and institutional strengthening will also be discussed.

The 12th Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council will serve to advance recommendations coming out of last month’s meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the technical and advisory arm of the CRFM.

Published in Press release

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, THURSDAY, 17 May 2018 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are expected to consider management plans for two vital fisheries, a protocol on small-scale fisheries and a policy on gender equality mainstreaming at their 12th Meeting, scheduled for Friday, 18 May 2018 in Montserrat.

 

At the upcoming meeting, Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment in Montserrat, will assume chairmanship of the CRFM Ministerial Council from Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture in Guyana.

 

Minister Holder

Outgoing chair of the Ministerial Council, Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture, Guyana

 

High on the agenda are two fisheries management plans that the Ministers will be asked to approve: the Sub-Regional Fisheries Management Plan for Blackfin Tuna and the management plan for fisheries conducted using fish aggregating devices (FAD), which is a growing fishery in the region.

 

The Ministers will also consider a protocol developed under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) to secure sustainable small-scale fisheries. The main objectives of the protocol are to enhance food security, improve the socioeconomic situation of fishworkers, and achieve sustainable use of fishery resources, through the promotion of a human-rights based approach.

 

In addition, the Ministers will discuss a regional policy aimed at mainstreaming gender equality in fisheries development, and management policies and programmes in CRFM Member States.

 

Milton Haughton, the Executive Director of the CRFM, said, “The focus of this Ministerial Council meeting is on building resilience and equity in the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. The Ministers will, therefore, discuss and decide on a number of policy instruments designed to strengthen management and conservation of key fisheries and their ecosystems, and enhance governance through equity and equality, inclusiveness, and participatory planning and decision-making processes.”

 

The Ministerial Council will also consider a proposal to collaborate with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), to look at ways in which the region can access international support and funding to reduce ghost fishing in Caribbean waters. Ghost fishing becomes a concern when gears continue to fish after getting lost during natural disasters such as hurricanes.

 

At Friday’s meeting, the Council will review progress made in implementing its earlier decisions, as well as the overall status and trends in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Advancements in fisheries research and development, the sustainable use and management of fisheries resources, aquaculture development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries, as well as capacity building and institutional strengthening will also be discussed.

 


The 12th Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council will serve to advance recommendations coming out of last month’s meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the technical and advisory arm of the CRFM.

Published in Press release

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, THURSDAY, 17 May 2018 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are expected to consider management plans for two vital fisheries, a protocol on small-scale fisheries and a policy on gender equality mainstreaming at their 12th Meeting, scheduled for Friday, 18 May 2018 in Montserrat.

 

At the upcoming meeting, Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment in Montserrat, will assume chairmanship of the CRFM Ministerial Council from Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture in Guyana.

 

Minister Holder

Outgoing chair of the Ministerial Council, Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture, Guyana

 

High on the agenda are two fisheries management plans that the Ministers will be asked to approve: the Sub-Regional Fisheries Management Plan for Blackfin Tuna and the management plan for fisheries conducted using fish aggregating devices (FAD), which is a growing fishery in the region.

 

The Ministers will also consider a protocol developed under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) to secure sustainable small-scale fisheries. The main objectives of the protocol are to enhance food security, improve the socioeconomic situation of fishworkers, and achieve sustainable use of fishery resources, through the promotion of a human-rights based approach.

 

In addition, the Ministers will discuss a regional policy aimed at mainstreaming gender equality in fisheries development, and management policies and programmes in CRFM Member States.

 

Milton Haughton, the Executive Director of the CRFM, said, “The focus of this Ministerial Council meeting is on building resilience and equity in the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. The Ministers will, therefore, discuss and decide on a number of policy instruments designed to strengthen management and conservation of key fisheries and their ecosystems, and enhance governance through equity and equality, inclusiveness, and participatory planning and decision-making processes.”

 

The Ministerial Council will also consider a proposal to collaborate with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), to look at ways in which the region can access international support and funding to reduce ghost fishing in Caribbean waters. Ghost fishing becomes a concern when gears continue to fish after getting lost during natural disasters such as hurricanes.

 

At Friday’s meeting, the Council will review progress made in implementing its earlier decisions, as well as the overall status and trends in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Advancements in fisheries research and development, the sustainable use and management of fisheries resources, aquaculture development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries, as well as capacity building and institutional strengthening will also be discussed.

 


The 12th Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council will serve to advance recommendations coming out of last month’s meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the technical and advisory arm of the CRFM.

Published in Press release

 

 

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Thursday, 26 April 2018 (CRFM)—At its recent annual meeting in Montserrat, the Caribbean Fisheries Forum framed a set of recommendations that will be submitted to regional policy-makers at the 12th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), slated for 18 May 2018 in Montserrat.

 

The Forum’s recommendations include measures for boosting production in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, risk insurance for fisheries, ongoing challenges to fisheries subsidies, gender mainstreaming, and the development of critical fishery management plans.

 

Members deliberated on strategies to tackle the challenges facing the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector

 

The Forum noted that the overall trend in total marine fish production of the CRFM Member States since 2005 is one of increasing production, with continued improvements over the 2015-2016 period. However, the region is a net importer of fisheries products. Latest data indicate that imports for the year 2016 totaled US$281.5 million, while exports were valued at US$256.2 million. Concerns were expressed that there are still gaps in the data and the Forum stressed the need for Member States to continue improving upon the collection and sharing of fisheries data, including trade data, in order to foster greater understanding and to strengthen management and development of the regions fisheries and aquaculture resources.

 

The Forum Meeting discussed a series of fisheries management plans, such as plans for the Blackfin Tuna and the Caribbean Billfish, as well as management plans for the use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). These regional plans are aimed at improving cooperation among countries to ensure effective conservation, management and sustainable use of the fisheries and to protect the marine ecosystems.

 

Another important regional development relates to the introduction of co-management arrangements for specific fisheries, including FADs and fish pot fisheries in the Eastern Caribbean States that participated in the Japanese-funded Caribbean Fisheries Co-management (CARIFICO) Project. The Forum reviewed the outcome of the project and future steps for continued improvements on co-management and participatory approaches to achieve sustainable and profitable fisheries in the region.

 

The Caribbean Fisheries Forum met in its 16th Session last week

 

The importance of climate change adaptation and disaster risk management plans to reduce vulnerability and improve resilience in the fisheries sector was prominent on the agenda. Among the key initiatives currently underway are the establishment of an early warning system for fishers using a mobile app, and the development of insurance policies. There are two separate insurance products being developed: one is a sovereign parametric policy which would be available for purchase by governments and the other is a basic livelihood protection policy for purchase by individual small-scale fishers.

 

The USA-sponsored Caribbean Oceans and Aquaculture Sustainability Facility (COAST) is being developed by the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility Segregated Portfolio Company (CCRIF SPC) in collaboration with the World Bank, CRFM and other partners. The COAST insurance policy is intended to serve as a platform for innovative financing to address food and livelihood security and climate change. Incentives would be given through the risk insurance policy to implement measures that contribute to sustainable and climate resilient fisheries management and disaster risk reduction.

 

The need for livelihood protection was underscored by the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean during the 2017 hurricane season. The Forum expressed its full support for the development of a protocol to incorporate climate change adaptation and disaster risk management into the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy.

 

The Forum also reviewed and supported the development of a Gender Policy for the fisheries sector, and a regional Protocol on securing sustainable small-scale fisheries for Caribbean Community fisherfolk and societies. This protocol is being developed under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy.

 

The recommendations were developed in order to protect the region’s fisheries resources from the threat of overexploitation and emerging threats such as climate change and warming oceans. They also aim to enhance the livelihoods, social welfare and wealth creation from the marine resources. According to CRFM’s Executive Director, Milton Haughton, the time has arrived for the CARICOM countries to pay more careful attention and make the investments necessary to protect and fully utilize our coastal and ocean resources for sustainable development.

 

The 16th meeting of the Forum was the first meeting of the CRFM held in Montserrat, one of the 17 Member States of the CRFM, due to the destruction of the capital city, Plymouth, by the Soufrière Hills volcano which began erupting in the mid 1990s.

 

Published in Press release

Across the Caribbean, the fisheries sector employs over 182,000 persons, directly or indirectly. Whereas commercial fisheries play a key role in helping to secure foreign exchange earnings in the region, small-scale fisheries is far more dominant in supplying badly needed jobs, as well as ensuring food security and good nutrition across states.

Published in Press release

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