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New Strategic Direction for the Caribbean Fisheries Sector

03 June 2013

BARBADOS - The Seventh Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) opened on Friday, 31 May 2013, at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa in Rockley, Christ Church, Barbados. Policymakers aimed to boost the standard of living of fisherfolk, particularly in small-scale fisheries.

According to Anguilla News, participation was drawn from The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, which are all Member States of the CRFM.

At the upcoming Ministerial Council meeting, Fisheries Ministers from CRFM Member States and their advisors received an update on the progress of work activities being undertaken by the CRFM Secretariat, Member States and network partners, and provide them with policy guidance on programmes and plans for the development and management of fisheries and aquaculture. They also approved a number of regional policy and strategic documents aimed at strengthening governance arrangements, conservation and sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the region.

According to the CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton: “This is a very important meeting in terms of forging a new strategic direction for the fisheries sector. The Council will consider a number of coordinated initiatives aimed at progressively improving: (i) the standard of living of our fisherfolk, particularly those in the small-scale fisheries sector; (ii) the region’s food security, by providing consumers in the region with adequate supplies of safe and affordably priced fish and seafood; and (iii) the frameworks to protect and conserve the fish stocks and associated ecosystems from overexploitation and degradation due to pollution and other human activities.”

The Council was expected to endorse the new CRFM Strategic Plan (2013–2021); the Regional Strategy, Action Plan and Proposal for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries; the Regional Manual and Strategy to Control the Lionfish Invasion; the CRFM Communication and Information Technology Strategy; and the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Strategic Action Programme. It was also asked to support the efforts of the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations (CNFO), as they strive for greater participation in the decision-making process.

Updates were provided on the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy; the implementation of the Castries (St. Lucia) Declaration on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing; progress in aquaculture; and the latest developments in CITES and in the USA as they relate to Queen Conch conservation and the petition for listing as an endangered species.

The CRFM Ministerial Council is the arm of the CRFM which charts the policies of the regional fisheries organisation. The Council is also responsible for providing leadership to the CRFM in the areas of research; fisheries management and conservation; approval of strategic plans and policy positions; work plans and budgets; fisheries cooperative agreements; and donor projects.

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