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35 fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) officers of 16 countries met in Barbados and reached an expert agreement on the introduction of harmonized standards for fishing vessel marking and identification, the establishment of a regional record of authorized fishing vessels and a regional list of vessels involved in Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and related activities.

The countries gathered in the 2nd meeting of the Regional Working Group on IUU Fishing (RWG-IUU); a joint working group, convened by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and composed of members of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC), the CRFM and the Organization for Fisheries and Aquaculture of Central America (OSPESCA).

The measures discussed and agreed by the experts at this meeting allow the fisheries inspectors, coast guard, navy and port officials to easily identify fishing vessels and see if the vessels have the necessary authorizations to fish. The measures will facilitate the work of the inspectors and other officials, who will have access to a regional record of authorized fishing vessels and lists of presumed and confirmed IUU fishing vessels. This will enable them to deny port access and support prosecution actions against IUU vessels.

The advice from the Working Group will be reviewed by the Interim Coordination Mechanism for sustainable Fisheries of WECAFC, CRFM and OSPESCA and is likely to be endorsed in 2018 by all countries in the region for implementation to start in early 2019.

At the meeting, the MCS officers were updated on the International Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing (IPOA-IUU), the Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels, and specific measures needed in the Caribbean region to effectively end IUU fishing.

IUU fishing is a hot topic in the region. Illegal fishing is not just fishing against the laws that are in place. It is also destroying the efforts of fisheries managers and legitimate fishers to manage and conserve the aquatic biodiversity and stocks. The growth in IUU fishing is driven by greed, opportunities provided and lack of deterrent. The joint Working Group aims to build capacity within the region to tackle IUU fishing and strengthen collaboration between the countries in the region in doing so.

The Western Central Atlantic, which includes the Caribbean Sea, is in the top five most overexploited fisheries areas worldwide. Fisheries production decreased from 2.5 million tonnes annually in the 1980s to 1.3 million tonnes in recent years. It is estimated that IUU fishing in the Western Central Atlantic accounts for between 20 and 30% of total reported harvests, representing a value of 450 to 750 million USD annually with dire implications for millions of peoples’ livelihoods, especially in the Caribbean islands.

FAO, WECAFC, CRFM and OSPESA encourage all Caribbean states to join in this regional effort to reduce IUU fishing and to adopt international best-practices to build a viable fisheries based on sustainable stocks.

This meeting of the RWG-IUU was made possible with support from the European Union’s DG Mare and FAO’s Global Record team. The 2nd meeting of the Regional Working Group on IUU fishing was held in Barbados on 19-21 September at the Secretariat of the WECAFC in the United Nations House in Barbados.

More information can be obtained from the WECAFC Secretariat at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Dr. Maren Headley, our Research Graduate - Research & Resource Assessment, returned to work on August 1st, 2017, after four years of study leave. Maren joined the CRFM Secretariat on August 1st, 2006 and has recently completed a Doctorate in Science at the Marist University of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Her doctoral thesis is titled “Spatiotemporal analysis of bio-economic indicators in a small-scale rights-based managed Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) fishery.” The fishery on which her thesis is based was MSC certified in 2012 and is located in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Her thesis is also an output of the Community Conservation Research Network (CCRN) which is coordinated by the St. Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada. CCRN is an international initiative which seeks to understand and support the links between communities, their natural resources, conservation, and livelihoods around the globe.

Dr Headley is looking forward to using her knowledge and skills in the areas of small-scale fisheries, property rights in fisheries management, fisheries bio-economics, and coastal benthic habitat mapping to contribute to the work of the CRFM Secretariat. We congratulate her on her achievement and welcome her back to the CRFM.

 

The fishery on which her thesis is based was MSC certified in 2012 and is located in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Dr. Maren Headley, our Research Graduate-Resource and Research Assessment, returned to work on August 1st, 2017, after four years of study leave. Maren joined the CRFM Secretariat on August 1st, 2006 and has recently completed a Doctorate in Science at the Marist University of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Her doctoral thesis is titled “Spatiotemporal analysis of bio-economic indicators in a small-scale rights-based managed Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) fishery.” This fishery obtained MSC certification in 2012 and is located in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Her thesis is also an output of the Community Conservation Research Network (CCRN) which is coordinated by the St. Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada. CCRN is an international initiative which seeks to understand and support the links between communities, their natural resources, conservation, and livelihoods around the globe.

Dr Headley is looking forward to using her knowledge and skills in the areas of small-scale fisheries, property rights in fisheries management, fisheries bio-economics, and coastal benthic habitat mapping to contribute to the work of the CRFM Secretariat. We congratulate her on her achievement and welcome her back to the CRFM.

Tuesday, 04 July 2017 00:29

Risk insurance for fishers

 

Over the past 30 years, storms, hurricanes and flooding associated with climate change and climate variability have had devastating impacts on Caribbean people, their property and livelihoods, and on the social and economic development of our region.

As noted in a recent public address delivered by Milton Haughton, the Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), "Fishers and fishing communities, in coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters especially the storms and hurricanes during the hurricane season each year."

The hurricane season opened last month and will run through to November, and fishers and fishing communities, in coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters especially the storms and hurricanes duringthis time of the year.

It is in this context that Haughton highlighted an initiative to reduce risk to the fisheries sector in the Caribbean. This is the provision of Risk Insurance for fishers.

On the occasion of Fisherfolk Day, 2017, Haughton detailed the initiative as follows:

"Since 2015, United States Department of State has been partnering with the World Bank, CRFM, the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), CNFO, and others to develop a parametric insurance product to be implemented by Caribbean governments to promote the resilience of their fisheries sector against the peril of increasing climate-change related disaster risk," he explained.

According to the CRFM Executive Director, the insurance policy would be structured in a way to provide incentive for governments to promote and implement international best practices in fisheries management and a disaster risk management, but before they purchase the policy, countries would be evaluated to determine how well they are doing in implementing these best practices.

"For example, Countries with good fisheries management systems and disaster risk management plans in place for the fisheries sector would pay lower premiums and receive higher payouts if there is a disaster. Payouts would be made by the insurance facility when the agreed trigger event has occurred," he explained, adding that funds would be used to help with the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the fisheries sector.

"The CCRIF is also in the process of developing a micro-insurance policy for low income persons in the fisheries in the region. This is called the Livelihood Protection Policy (LPP)--designed to protect low-income people against extreme weather risks," Haughton said.

This policy, he explained, will be available through existing insurers.

"The LPP is being customized for small-scale fishers and small aquaculture operators in the region with the intention to cover losses to livelihoods caused by storms, heavy rainfall, high winds and other climate related variables. The policy will provide quick payouts to enable fishers and fish farmers to recover more quickly after a damaging event," Haughton announced.

 

 

Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Milton Haughton, was the keynote speaker on Thursday, June 29, at the awards ceremony for outstanding fishers in Belize.

 

The event was organized by the Wildlife Conservation Society along with the CRFM and other NGO partners and the Belize Fisheries Department, as the climax to a month-long observance in celebration of fisherfolk in Belize.

 

The outstanding fishers were LeoBihildo Tamai – Fisher of the Year for 2017, a career fisher of 30 years who lives in Sarteneja Village in Corozal, northern Belize; Dale Fairweather – a deep sea and lobster fisher of southern Belize; and Eleodoro Martinez, Jr., a fisher of Chunux, also located in Corozal.

 

l-tamai

 

“Fisherfolk and fisheries have always been a very important part of Caribbean culture, social life and economies,” Haughton said.

 

He added that not only do the fisheries produce provide very important sources of food and nutrition; but the sector is also an important source of foreign exchange earnings, employment and livelihood opportunities, particularly for the poor and vulnerable members of society.

 

“But the livelihoods of fishers, the safety of their communities in the coastal areas, and continued enjoyment of the benefits from the seas and oceans are threatened by climate change, sea level rise, and ocean acidification, among many other challenges,” the CRFM Executive Director said.

 

For this reason, he added, the theme selected by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation for fisherfolk day 2017 is “Fisheries: contributing to food security in a changing climate.”

 

“The future we want in the Caribbean is one where fisheries are sustainable, resilient and productive, and are used in a way that promotes economic growth, food security and health, and the prosperity of our people now and in the future,” he asserted, adding that in order to realize the envisioned future, more importance needs to be given to evidence-based decision-making, in order to improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change. This would, in turn, help the region develop adaptation strategies to protect our communities and natural resources.

 

He warned, though, that, “Lack of appropriate action on climate change today will certainly undermine the achievement of this vision and make the world our children inherit a much more unproductive, insecure and difficult place than we are living in today.”

  

 

The region is also grappling with emerging challenges which confront the sector, including the more recent phenomenon of massive quantities of sargassum seaweed in the coastal water.

 

Haughton said that the sargassum seaweed is returning, and reports are that it is already affecting the Eastern Caribbean.

 

Peter A. Murray, Programme Manager – Fisheries Management and Development of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat in Belize City, discussed the role of regional frameworks in facilitating and supporting Marine Resource Conservation at the Global Dialogue on Oceans, hosted earlier this month in Puntarenas, Costa Rica by the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica with support from the UN.

 

The event, which ran from 8-9 June, was held in celebration of World Oceans Day, observed this year under the theme, “Our Oceans, Our Future.” According to Murray, the dialogue targeted major stakeholders from different organizations, serving as a meeting point for future substantive dialogue on oceans.

 

Peter-A.-Murray-breakout-gr

Peter A. Murray, second from left, joins dialogue in Civil Society break-out group

 

The CRFM Programme Manager - Fisheries Management and Development joined the 9th June panel discussion on conservation policies and measures to reduce pollution from various sources including, discarded fishing (ghost) gear as well as from aquaculture operations. His presentation focused on regional frameworks to facilitate and support Marine Resource Conservation, and signs of their commitment.

 

According to Murray, his presentation centered around the theme: encouraging solutions to pollution for a healthier ocean and a better future. His presentation considered what the Fisheries Sector in the Commonwealth Caribbean been doing.

 

The Global Dialogue on Oceans also provided an opportunity for Murray to discuss the role of the CRFM, including the Agreement Establishing the CRFM; the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy; and the CRFM Strategic Plan 2013-2021.

 

He also considered other important regional frameworks, such as the Cartagena Convention, the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) Strategic Action Programme (SAP), St. George’s Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability in the OECS (SGD), and the OECS’ Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy (ECROP), in the context of the theme.

 

The CRFM Programme Manager - Fisheries Management and Development spoke of lessons learned in promoting commitment to regional frameworks that facilitate and support Marine Resource Conservation. He underscored that among the elements required are: a mandated framework for collaboration, political will at all levels (policy making; decision making; “ground level”), supportive partners, funding and time.

 

Some discussants feel that there exists a political culture that does not allow for change, the attitude being “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

 

The discussion which followed the panel’s presentation explored top challenges, including trans-boundary cooperation that is effective at the ground level; and the need to find means to support intergovernmental mechanisms so that they benefit countries.

 

The suggestion that public policies, such as fisheries closed seasons, should be synchronized across borders was raised, and the need to communicate in the language of stakeholders was emphasized.

 

President-of-CR-after-signi

President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís, after signing a declaration during the conference establishing a new marine protected area

 

Organizers say that the outcomes of the Global Dialogue on Oceans will be carried to the Third Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-3) themed around pollution, due to be convened in December 2017. They add that these outcomes will be further linked to the global commitment to meet Sustainable Development Goal 14 on conservation of our oceans, and specifically on combating marine pollution.

 

 

Peter A. Murray, Programme Manager – Fisheries Management and Development of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat in Belize City, discussed the role of regional frameworks in facilitating and supporting Marine Resource Conservation at the Global Dialogue on Oceans, hosted earlier this month in Puntarenas, Costa Rica by the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica with support from the UN.

The event, which ran from 8-9 June, was held in celebration of World Oceans Day, observed this year under the theme, “Our Oceans, Our Future.” According to Murray, the dialogue targeted major stakeholders from different organizations, serving as a meeting point for future substantive dialogue on oceans.

PAM-and-Reggie-Burke-in-Civ

Peter A. Murray and Reggie Burke in Civil Society breakout group

The CRFM Programme Manager - Fisheries Management and Development joined the 9th June panel discussion on conservation policies and measures to reduce pollution from various sources including, discarded fishing (ghost) gear as well as from aquaculture operations. His presentation focused on regional frameworks to facilitate and support Marine Resource Conservation, and signs of their commitment.

According to Murray, his presentation centered around the theme: encouraging solutions to pollution for a healthier ocean and a better future. His presentation considered what the Fisheries Sector in the Commonwealth Caribbean been doing.

The Global Dialogue on Oceans also provided an opportunity for Murray to discuss the role of the CRFM, including the Agreement Establishing the CRFM; the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy; and the CRFM Strategic Plan 2013-2021.

He also considered other important regional frameworks, such as the Cartagena Convention, the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) Strategic Action Programme (SAP), St. George’s Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability in the OECS (SGD), and the OECS’ Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy (ECROP), in the context of the theme.

The CRFM Programme Manager - Fisheries Management and Development spoke of lessons learned in promoting commitment to regional frameworks that facilitate and support Marine Resource Conservation. He underscored that among the elements required are: a mandated framework for collaboration, political will at all levels (policy making; decision making; “ground level”), supportive partners, funding and time.

Some discussants feel that there exists a political culture that does not allow for change, the attitude being “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

The discussion which followed the panel’s presentation explored top challenges, including trans-boundary cooperation that is effective at the ground level; and the need to find means to support intergovernmental mechanisms so that they benefit countries.

The suggestion that public policies, such as fisheries closed seasons, should be synchronized across borders was raised, and the need to communicate in the language of stakeholders was emphasized.

President-of-CR-after-signi

President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís, afer signing a declaration establishing a new marine protected area

Organizers say that the outcomes of the Global Dialogue on Oceans will be carried to the Third Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-3) themed around pollution, due to be convened in December 2017. They add that these outcomes will be further linked to the global commitment to meet Sustainable Development Goal 14 on conservation of our oceans, and specifically on combating marine pollution.

 

 

NEW YORK CITY, USA; Sunday, 4 June 2017 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is participating this week in a high-level United Nations Conference being convened to advance the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for development.

The event, being held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 5 to 9 June 2017, focuses on the theme, “Our oceans, our future: partnering for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.”

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, who will be a part of the CARICOM delegation to the UN Oceans Conference, said: “This is indeed a very important conference. We attach great significance to it, and will be showcasing our policies and activities aimed at balancing food security and sustainable livelihoods with the need to protect and preserve the oceans and seas and their biodiversity. We will also be seeking to strengthen our relationships with traditional partners and forging new partnerships.”

Conference organizers want the event to serve as a game-changer that will reverse the decline in the health of our oceans for people, planet and prosperity. A key area of focus will be furthering efforts to make fisheries sustainable. The Caribbean helps to meet the global demand for fish, upon which more than 3 billion people rely for animal protein, while 300 million people globally rely on marine fisheries for their livelihoods.

Fisheries creates employment - CRFM

Fisheries creates employment for nearly 400,000 people across the Caribbean (Photo: CRFM)

 In line with its mission, the CRFM is also supporting a series of side events. The first, to be led by the African Pacific States (ACP) on Tuesday, 6 June 2017 in the UN Conference Building in New York, focuses on harnessing the blue economy to increase economic benefits for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Lesser Developed Countries (LCDs), which include member states of the CRFM.

Haughton will help to set the scene by sharing regional perspectives at the ACP side event, which is aimed at providing a forum for a high-level exchange of views on the ongoing blue growth initiatives in ACP countries. The forum will also provide an opportunity for the sharing of best practices and the engagement of partners to secure the blue growth momentum. Ultimately, the aim is to work towards the achievement of SDG 14, Target 7. This envisions that by 2030, there will be an increase in economic benefits to SIDS and LDCs from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.

The CRFM will also present on Thursday, June 8, being recognized as World Oceans Day, at a forum titled, “Achieving SDG 14: Scaling-up Successful Approaches to Sustainable Fisheries Development and Management in the Caribbean SIDS Region through Cooperation and Partnerships.” At this forum, the CRFM executive director is billed to deliver a presentation on Advancing Sustainable Fisheries, the CARICOM experience.

This side event to the conference, being organized by the Governments of Belize, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Norway, Iceland/United Nations University – Fisheries Training Programme and the CRFM, in partnership the CARICOM Secretariat and the University of the West Indies, is intended to showcase best-case examples of regional cooperation in addressing SDG target 14.4. This target sets 2020 as the timeline to effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing practices, and to implement science-based management plans and to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible.

The empowerment of small-scale fishers and partnerships between fishers and governments in promoting food security, livelihood opportunities, resource management and conservation are also to be showcased at the forum.

Organizers of this side event, which will be chaired by Ambassador Janine Felson of Belize, want to use this opportunity to highlight best practices from the Caribbean, while putting the spotlight on critical gaps and needs, and announcing partnerships for advancing key activities in the sector.

In another event to be hosted by the Government of the Iceland, the Government of the Faroe Islands and The Nordic Council of Ministers, on the sidelines of the UN Oceans Conference that same day, experts want to focus on ways to build on governance and innovation as a part of initiatives to realize the ‘blue bioeconomy’ in small island states. CRFM Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Susan Singh-Renton, is expected to discuss lessons learned and experiences shared in governance and innovation in the Caribbean region.

 

 The first ever Caribbean Marine Climate Change Report Card is now public.

 According to the document, "Caribbean fishing is highly vulnerable to climate change, especially those in the Greater and Lesser Antilles. Caribbean fisheries are under threat due to changes in ocean currents and fish distribution, and loss of marine habitats. Coastal erosion is also compromising important fish landing beach sites and increasing intensity of storms together with increased sea level causes damage to fish habitats, fishery access and assets."

 

Read the full 2017 Report Card in this post or download a copy via the link below.

 

 

Belize City, Thursday, 18 May 2017 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will host the 11th Meeting of its Ministerial Council—the highest ranking decision-making body of the regional fisheries organization—starting at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, May 19, at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana.

Ministers who hold the portfolio for fisheries from the 17 Member States of the CRFM, or their appointed delegates, are slated to attend the event, at which Guyana is expected to be elected as the new chair of the Council.

Fisheries ministers from across the Caribbean will review ongoing programmes and the status of and trends in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. They will also discuss further actions needed to tackle the pressing challenges facing the sector.

“The 11th Meeting of the Council is taking place against the backdrop of the High Level UN Oceans Forum that will take place in New York from 5-9 June 2017, to review progress on achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development,” noted CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton.

Haughton said that, “The living marine resources provide employment, income, food and livelihoods, and they are an important component of the tourism product in the region. For these reasons, CRFM Member States have accorded high priority to ensuring proper management and sustainable use of these resources, to provide tangible sustainable benefits to the people of the region.”

The Council also aims to improve the trade and economic performance of the sector while addressing climate change and associated threats.

The Ministerial Council will receive and consider the report and recommendations of the 15th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the CRFM’s technical advisory body, which was held in Jamaica in March 2017 in preparation for this meeting of the Council.

With the 2017 hurricane season approaching in just a few weeks, the ministers will discuss the Caribbean Risk Insurance Facility for Fishers. The Caribbean Fisheries Forum has endorsed and now recommend for approval by the Ministerial Council, the approach of linking the insurance policy with the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy and the development of Disaster Risk Management Plans for the fisheries sector. They hope that this will incentivize the adoption of best practices for resource management and disaster planning. Countries would pay lower premiums and receive higher payouts after a disaster event if they have disaster risk management plans for the fisheries sector, have established mechanisms to facilitate cooperation among fishers, and are implementing the Common Fisheries Policy.

At the 6th Special Meeting of the Ministerial Council held in October 2016 in Cayman, Fisheries ministers welcomed the progress on the developments of the insurance facilities for the fisheries sector and urged the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility Segregated Portfolio Company (CCRIF-SPC) to expedite the preparation of the policies and other necessary arrangements, and to launch the policies without delay. Urgent action is needed since threats from climate change and natural disasters, such as hurricanes, pose an ever-present threat to fishers and fish farmers, as well as to food security in the region.

The Ministers will continue to review ways in which the countries can continue to collaborate on developing and implementing comprehensive legislation, protocols and guidelines to ensure fish and seafood safety and security, to expand regional trade and the Caribbean’s access to export markets, as well as to provide the necessary resources and investment to ensure adoption within the context of national governance frameworks.

The Ministers will be asked to approve proposed follow-up interventions to strengthen the linkages between fisheries and tourism and to maximize potential benefits for local fishers and fishing communities, as well as to reduce the growing dependence on imported fish and fisheries products.

CRFM Member States are being urged to address the constraints to sourcing locally produced fish and seafood for the tourism sector, such as inadequate quality assurance, unreliability of supply, inadequate volume, product form and transportation, and lack of communication and information flow between fishers and tourist establishments.

They are also being asked to document the extent to which part-time fishermen are involved in the tourism sector (as tour guides, snorkelers, etc.) and to consider, in the context of promoting alternative or associated livelihoods for fishers focused on the tourism sector, the possibility of fishermen being given first preference to livelihood opportunities in marine protected areas (MPAs).

The Ministers will also consider the preliminary findings and recommendations of a recently concluded study to review the impact of cost factors such as capital, labour, maintenance and energy costs on fisheries operations, in order to identify policy options and strategies to improve efficiency, profitability, sustainability and economic resilience of the sector.

 

 

 

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