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Cartagena, Colombia, 27 January 2016—Three Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs): the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM); the Organization of the Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector (OSPESCA); and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations - Western Central Atlantic Fisheries Commission (FAO-WECAFC) on Wednesday 27 January signed  a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate, support and strengthen the coordination of actions among the three RFBs to increase the sustainability of fisheries.  

 This initiative to improve coordination for sustainable fisheries is supported through the UNDP/GEF-Catalysing Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Management of shared Living Marine Resources in the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) Project.  This 5-year regional project seeks to support the implementation of a 10-year politically endorsed Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Management of the Shared Living Marine Resources of the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+ SAP); through the full implementation of ecosystem based management/an ecosystem approach to fisheries (EBM/EAF) within the CLME+ region.

The 3 RFBs agreed to work on a number of priority areas such as the provision of advice in support of management of fisheries of spiny lobster, queen conch, shrimp and groundfish, recreational fisheries, flyingfish, FADs fisheries, sharks, spawning aggregations, and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fisheries. Joint Working Groups on these species and fisheries have been established in recent years and are now better coordinated. The 3 RFBs have also agreed to work on areas and actions identified in the CLME+ Project and CLME+ Strategic Action Programme that are of relevance to the scope of work. The 3 RFBs have also committed to working towards the harmonization of their respective fisheries policies and legal frameworks.

The Interim Coordination Mechanism, to be tested through this MOU, will increase the uptake of information and fisheries management advice generated at national and sub-regional level to the regional level. This will support dissemination of best practices, improve harmonization and boost the impact of measures, decrees and regulations adopted within the frameworks of these RFBs. It will provide a pilot structure that may lead at some point to the establishment of one or more Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) in the Western Central Atlantic Ocean.

The Executive Director of the CRFM, Milton Haughton, said, “This is a strategically significant development that should produce significant tangible benefits for our countries, coastal communities and other stakeholders in the fisheries sector. It will ensure that our policies, programmes and plans for sustainable use, management and conservation of the living marine resources are more coherent, integrated and holistic, and hence more appropriate for addressing the challenges we face in the Caribbean Sea and adjacent Atlantic Ocean.”

“I am very happy with this MOU which formalizes collaboration between OSPESCA, CRFM and WECAFC that started some 4 years ago through joint working groups. This is good for the region’s fisheries. The members of the three RFBs will benefit hugely from this development,” said Raymon van Anrooy, Secretary of WECAFC.

The Executive Director of OSPESCA, Mario González Recinos, said, “The signing of this MOU responds to the objectives of the new Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Integration Policy (2015-2025), and the Central American region’s commitment to promote better coordination frameworks at both national and regional levels, with the idea of ​​harmonizing management strategies, especially for species of high commercial value that are characterized by their migratory nature in the Caribbean Sea.”

The MOU between the 3 RFBs was signed during the First Steering Committee Meeting of the Project which took place in Cartagena, Colombia from 26-28 January 2016.

The MOU is attached to this post.

Cartagena, Colombia, 27 January 2016—Three Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs): the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM); the Organization of the Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector (OSPESCA); and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations - Western Central Atlantic Fisheries Commission (FAO-WECAFC) on Wednesday 27 January signed  a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate, support and strengthen the coordination of actions among the three RFBs to increase the sustainability of fisheries.  

 This initiative to improve coordination for sustainable fisheries is supported through the UNDP/GEF-Catalysing Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Management of shared Living Marine Resources in the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) Project.  This 5-year regional project seeks to support the implementation of a 10-year politically endorsed Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Management of the Shared Living Marine Resources of the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+ SAP); through the full implementation of ecosystem based management/an ecosystem approach to fisheries (EBM/EAF) within the CLME+ region.

The 3 RFBs agreed to work on a number of priority areas such as the provision of advice in support of management of fisheries of spiny lobster, queen conch, shrimp and groundfish, recreational fisheries, flyingfish, FADs fisheries, sharks, spawning aggregations, and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fisheries. Joint Working Groups on these species and fisheries have been established in recent years and are now better coordinated. The 3 RFBs have also agreed to work on areas and actions identified in the CLME+ Project and CLME+ Strategic Action Programme that are of relevance to the scope of work. The 3 RFBs have also committed to working towards the harmonization of their respective fisheries policies and legal frameworks.

The Interim Coordination Mechanism, to be tested through this MOU, will increase the uptake of information and fisheries management advice generated at national and sub-regional level to the regional level. This will support dissemination of best practices, improve harmonization and boost the impact of measures, decrees and regulations adopted within the frameworks of these RFBs. It will provide a pilot structure that may lead at some point to the establishment of one or more Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) in the Western Central Atlantic Ocean.

The Executive Director of the CRFM, Milton Haughton, said, “This is a strategically significant development that should produce significant tangible benefits for our countries, coastal communities and other stakeholders in the fisheries sector. It will ensure that our policies, programmes and plans for sustainable use, management and conservation of the living marine resources are more coherent, integrated and holistic, and hence more appropriate for addressing the challenges we face in the Caribbean Sea and adjacent Atlantic Ocean.”

“I am very happy with this MOU which formalizes collaboration between OSPESCA, CRFM and WECAFC that started some 4 years ago through joint working groups. This is good for the region’s fisheries. The members of the three RFBs will benefit hugely from this development,” said Raymon van Anrooy, Secretary of WECAFC.

The Executive Director of OSPESCA, Mario González Recinos, said, “The signing of this MOU responds to the objectives of the new Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Integration Policy (2015-2025), and the Central American region’s commitment to promote better coordination frameworks at both national and regional levels, with the idea of ​​harmonizing management strategies, especially for species of high commercial value that are characterized by their migratory nature in the Caribbean Sea.”

The MOU between the 3 RFBs was signed during the First Steering Committee Meeting of the Project which took place in Cartagena, Colombia from 26-28 January 2016.

The MOU is attached to this post.

 

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, paid a courtesy call today on Mr. Milton Haughton, the Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), and his team of dedicated staff who continue to work with member states to secure the region's invaluable fisheries resources.
 
The Secretary-General spoke with the CRFM Executive Director about strengthening the relationship between the CARICOM Secretariat, based in Guyana, and the CRFM, based in Belize.
 
IMG 1390
 
Above: CRFM Executive Director (left) and his staff dialogue with Ambassador LaRocque (right) and Ms. Itiaba
 
Haughton and LaRocque both spoke of the importance of building synergies between their Secretariats, as well as between sister CARICOM agencies, in order to maximize on benefits to the region.
 
The Secretary-General is due to return to Belize in February, as the country, whose prime minister is the new chair of CARICOM as of January 1, 2016, is scheduled to host the next Heads of Government meeting in the seaside village of Placencia, where fisheries is a mainstay of the local economy.

 

 Nakita Dookie, Fisheries Officer, Fisheries Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Georgetown (2015)

 Belize City, Belize, 29 December 2015 (CRFM)The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the International Ocean Institute (IOI) this month signed a new 5-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) to extend their longstanding cooperation towards building the capacity of Caribbean fisheries and marine resource management professionals in ocean governance. The partnership between the CRFM and IOI started in 2004 and it has provided nearly 40 Caribbean nationals access to high-level, specialized training and capacity-building support at IOI-Dalhousie University every year since then.

Mitchell Lay, Coordinator, Caribbean Network of Fisher Folk Organizations (CNFO)The renewed cooperation agreement, signed for the CRFM by Executive Director Milton Haughton and for IOI by Managing Director of its Malta headquarters, Antonella Vassallo, ensures that Caribbean nationals will continue to receive expert training on Ocean Governance: Policy, Law and Management at the Canada-based institute.

Commenting on the agreement, the CRFM’s Executive Director, said: “We are very pleased to have concluded this new MoU with IOI, one of our key international development partners. The specialized training provided by IOI in marine policy, law and marine management is very important for the Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean that depend heavily on the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean for economic development. The need for this type of training in the region is great. Through our partnership with IOI, we have been able to gradually build up our capacity to utilize, protect and manage our coastal and marine resources.”

Mitchell Lay, Coordinator, Caribbean Network of Fisher Folk Organizations, (2012)

Mauro 2

Nominations have just closed for the 36th annual training at IOI-Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, which is set to convene next year, from 18 May 2016 to 15 July 2016. Each year, there are spaces for two to five candidates from CRFM Member States to participate in the course, which emphasizes the importance of viewing the ocean as a system with varied users and multiple, often competing and conflicting, uses.

According to the IOI, the course “…aims to increase awareness of the fact that ocean management requires broad interdisciplinary skills, new institutional and legal infrastructures, and new forms of intergovernmental and non-governmental organization and cooperation at the local, national and international levels.”

 

Earlier this year, two fisheries professionals, Frederick Arnett II, Assistant Fisheries Officer of the Bahamas and Nakita Dookie, Fisheries Officer of Guyana, attended the training, which consists of over 200 hours in the classroom and includes lectures, interactive discussions, field trips, simulations and exercises, individual participant presentations, and an international round table.

In the spirit of the recently signed MoU between the CRFM and IOI, successful nominees are awarded a scholarship from IOI for the accommodation, meals and tuition in Canada during the training, while the CRFM covers the cost of return airfare and other travel expenses.

Under the MoU, the parties will also continue to assess the region’s capacity-building needs, both on the national and regional levels, and work together to offer further relevant training and capacity-building opportunities.

 Mauro Gongora, Fisheries Officer, Fisheries Department, Belize (2014

 BELIZE CITY, 12 December 2015 (CRFM)--Some fear that climate change and global economic pressures will create a toxic mix that would cripple the potential of the Caribbean fisheries and aquaculture sector, but a new initiative being implemented by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is looking for that “golden key” that would, instead, unlock the industry’s hidden potential for all concerned; thus improving the contribution of fisheries to the region’s economic development. This should ensure that both suppliers and buyers have more money in their pockets, as they keep the resource base on a healthy and sustainable footing.

A newly launched project will over the next year bring together key public and private actors in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, to optimize the benefits across the value chain – from the fishers who set their traps to reap the ocean’s bounty to the buyers who search for the most economical catch to serve up an impressive meal.

Towards this end, the CRFM led a planning meeting in Grenada from 7-9 December 2015 to jumpstart the organization of a regional training and capacity building workshop on the Value Chain Approach in Caribbean Fisheries. The workshop will take place in July 2016.

The initiative is geared towards building capacity among key government and private sector representatives, and in particular small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in fisheries and aquaculture, to use the value chain approach to optimize economic benefits. The value chain approach looks at every operational level in the industry, including production, processing, distribution on the local and export markets, as well as marketing and sales to wholesale agents and retail buyers.


Chief or Senior Fisheries Officers and private sector representatives from the 17 CRFM Member States will have an opportunity to participate in the training, which will be delivered by the CRFM, UNU-FTP, and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Faculty of Food and Agriculture, at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago campus.

Personnel from the CRFM, UWI, UNU-FTP, the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute (CFTDI) in Trinidad and Tobago; the University of Iceland, and the University of Akureyri in Iceland are part of the planning team which is developing the course program and follow-up activities.

Last week, the team began discussions to formulate the course outline and content, identify the status of supply and value chains in the region, and discuss the data available in the region that is necessary to conduct a value chain analysis. The team will also develop representative case studies, as well as training material and a manual for use in the regional training workshop.

The industry-oriented training will be followed by the development of short-term and medium-term action plans for implementation of the value chain in selected pilot studies within CRFM Member States.

In group photo: (l-r) Mr. Milton Haughton, Executive Director, CRFM Secretariat; Dr. Thor Dadi Kristofersson, University of Iceland; Dr. Clement Iton, UWI; Dr. Sharon Hutchinson, UWI; Ms. Tullia Ible, CFTDI; Dr Ogmundur Knutsson, University of Akureyri, Iceland; and Mr. Justin Rennie, Chief Fisheries Officer, Fisheries Division, Grenada

BELIZE CITY, 12 December 2015 (CRFM)--Some fear that climate change and global economic pressures will create a toxic mix that would cripple the potential of the Caribbean fisheries and aquaculture sector, but a new initiative being implemented by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is looking for that “golden key” that would, instead, unlock the industry’s hidden potential for all concerned; thus improving the contribution of fisheries to the region’s economic development. This should ensure that both suppliers and buyers have more money in their pockets, as they keep the resource base on a healthy and sustainable footing.


A newly launched project will over the next year bring together key public and private actors in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, to optimize the benefits across the value chain – from the fishers who set their traps to reap the ocean’s bounty to the buyers who search for the most economical catch to serve up an impressive meal.

Towards this end, the CRFM led a planning meeting in Grenada from 7-9 December 2015 to jumpstart the organization of a regional training and capacity building workshop on the Value Chain Approach in Caribbean Fisheries. The workshop will take place in July 2016.

The initiative is geared towards building capacity among key government and private sector representatives, and in particular small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in fisheries and aquaculture, to use the value chain approach to optimize economic benefits. The value chain approach looks at every operational level in the industry, including production, processing, distribution on the local and export markets, as well as marketing and sales to wholesale agents and retail buyers.


Chief or Senior Fisheries Officers and private sector representatives from the 17 CRFM Member States will have an opportunity to participate in the training, which will be delivered by the CRFM, UNU-FTP, and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Faculty of Food and Agriculture, at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago campus.

Personnel from the CRFM, UWI, UNU-FTP, the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute (CFTDI) in Trinidad and Tobago; the University of Iceland, and the University of Akureyri in Iceland are part of the planning team which is developing the course program and follow-up activities.

Last week, the team began discussions to formulate the course outline and content, identify the status of supply and value chains in the region, and discuss the data available in the region that is necessary to conduct a value chain analysis. The team will also develop representative case studies, as well as training material and a manual for use in the regional training workshop.

The industry-oriented training will be followed by the development of short-term and medium-term action plans for implementation of the value chain in selected pilot studies within CRFM Member States.

BELIZE CITY, 12 December 2015 (CRFM)--Some fear that climate change and global economic pressures will create a toxic mix that would cripple the potential of the Caribbean fisheries and aquaculture sector, but a new initiative being implemented by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is looking for that “golden key” that would, instead, unlock the industry’s hidden potential for all concerned; thus improving the contribution of fisheries to the region’s economic development. This should ensure that both suppliers and buyers have more money in their pockets, as they keep the resource base on a healthy and sustainable footing.


A newly launched project will over the next year bring together key public and private actors in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, to optimize the benefits across the value chain – from the fishers who set their traps to reap the ocean’s bounty to the buyers who search for the most economical catch to serve up an impressive meal.

Towards this end, the CRFM led a planning meeting in Grenada from 7-9 December 2015 to jumpstart the organization of a regional training and capacity building workshop on the Value Chain Approach in Caribbean Fisheries. The workshop will take place in July 2016.

The initiative is geared towards building capacity among key government and private sector representatives, and in particular small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in fisheries and aquaculture, to use the value chain approach to optimize economic benefits. The value chain approach looks at every operational level in the industry, including production, processing, distribution on the local and export markets, as well as marketing and sales to wholesale agents and retail buyers.


Chief or Senior Fisheries Officers and private sector representatives from the 17 CRFM Member States will have an opportunity to participate in the training, which will be delivered by the CRFM, UNU-FTP, and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Faculty of Food and Agriculture, at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago campus.

Personnel from the CRFM, UWI, UNU-FTP, the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute (CFTDI) in Trinidad and Tobago; the University of Iceland, and the University of Akureyri in Iceland are part of the planning team which is developing the course program and follow-up activities.

Last week, the team began discussions to formulate the course outline and content, identify the status of supply and value chains in the region, and discuss the data available in the region that is necessary to conduct a value chain analysis. The team will also develop representative case studies, as well as training material and a manual for use in the regional training workshop.

The industry-oriented training will be followed by the development of short-term and medium-term action plans for implementation of the value chain in selected pilot studies within CRFM Member States.

 

In an effort to strengthen the capacities of surveillance and control activities in Member States, IICA has collaborated with the Ohio State University (OSU) College of Veterinary Medicine, to offer advanced training on antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance in food production animals and food products of animal origin.

This capacity building action on Antimicrobial Use and Antimicrobial Resistance in Agriculture, is an opportunity for early to mid-career public health professionals to participate in a comprehensive two week training course designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills needed to control and monitor the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance in food production systems, as well as throughout the food chain from the farm to the consumer.

Opportunity exists for 2 qualified persons working on aquaculture/fisheries SPS from the Caribbean ACP States to participate in the training course.

For more information on the course please download the Course profile here and/or contact the CRFM Secretariat, or the Director of Fisheries/Chief Fisheries Officer or Permanent Secretary Responsible for Fisheries in your country for more information.

This training is made possible through funding under the EU Funded SPS Measures Project.

 

Read the report online HERE or download HERE.

 

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 25 August 2015, (CRFM) – Industry figures and government officials from across the Caribbean fishing industry Tuesday wrapped up two days of talks here acknowledging they were at the very early stages of introducing a new regime for safe seafood for local and international consumption.

The two-day meeting is part of a European Union-funded project to help CARIFORUM countries introduce laws, regulations and a governance system to guarantee safe seafood for export to EU markets and beyond.

The project, which is being carried out by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and supported by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), aims to ramp up food safety standards to enable CARIFORUM fish exporters to take up trading opportunities under the EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Milton Haughton

Milton Haughton, Executive Director, Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism

“Developed countries – the EU, United States, Canada … all have standards that you must meet in order to export to their market,” said Milton Haughton, CRFM executive director. “In our countries we may not meet all those standards currently and so we want to put in place the systems which are quite complicated to be able to enter those markets to satisfy their requirements so that our products can be exported.”

The EU is requiring exporting nations put enforceable legislation in place in each country to govern SPS standards. 

“The experts here (were) discussing the regulations, the human resources (and) the institutional arrangements that are required to monitor, evaluate (and) test for various pathogens, and to ensure that we do have a good system in place that meets with international best practice.” Haughton said.

So far, compliance with globally established standards in the region is voluntary – a worrisome development that experts say is stopping member states from tapping into niche markets overseas and boosting foreign exchange earnings.

A two-month long assessment by international consultants has exposed large gaps in legally binding protocols managing food safety throughout the region.

The meeting discussed how to introduce a region-wide set of food safety and environmental safeguards which were presented for review by a team of legal and scientific consultants who moved through the region assessing the state of industry over the last two months.

As they travelled through CARIFORUM group of nations – the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Dominican Republic -a team of consultants from Jamaica, Britain and Iceland inspected processing plants, cold storage facilities and testing laboratories.

The CRFM head expressed the hope that adopting SPS measures region-wide could also have spinoff benefits for local consumers.

“It’s not only about exporting and earning exchange; it’s also ensuring that our people have healthy and safe fish and seafood to eat,” he added. “Given the challenges that we have in this region for economic development, employment and earning foreign exchange, we have to make use of all the resources that we have including ensuring that we can get good prices for our fish and also have safe fish and seafood for our own people.”

Belize, one of the region’s leading fish and seafood exporters, is hoping to learn from other CARIFORUM countries represented at the meeting while offering to sharing information with smaller exporting nations that would help improve food safety standards.

Delilah Cabb Ayala

Delilah Cabb Ayala, SPS Coordinator, Belize Agricultural Health Authority

“For the first time, we’re having a forum where we could start discussing (SPS) issues as a region,” said Delilah Cabb Ayala, SPS Coordinator for the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA). “Each country has been looking at their own legislation, trying to ensure that they make the necessary amendments, just to be able to have access to the EU and the other trading partners with which we are currently trading.”

Last year, Belize exported an estimated 44 million US dollars in shrimp alone from total exports worth 64 million US dollars.

Cabb Ayala said the regional effort to harmonise SPS rules across CARIFORUM will be a “lengthy process” but with nations such as Belize ahead of others, she is hoping that proposals will emerge that "take into account all the different levels that we are dealing with within the region."

She continued: “(This) meeting to ensure that we have harmonised procedures is a good thing. Additionally, it allows for technical experts to bring to the fore their current situations, and at that level try to come up with proposals that can actually be implemented at the national levels."

“We could learn from other countries.  In the discussions, I said I will be sharing some information that we are implementing in Belize. So countries could look at our proposal and if it is for them adaptable, they could readily move with that.”

The two-day meeting posed questions regarding primary and secondary legislation, including coming food safety laws and protocols, processes for appeals, and procedures for licensing, export and controls.

The meeting considered strategic priorities at the national and regional level and began discussions on a governance structure for food safety and fisheries. The officials also considered how to integrate their work into the development of the fledgling Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) based in Suriname and the progress towards the setting up of national health and food safety authorities. 

 

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