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Belize City, Wednesday, 6 April 2016 (CRFM)--Fisheries experts from across the Caribbean region are traveling to Guyana this week for the 14th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum -- the primary technical deliberative body of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM). The Forum will be meeting in Georgetown on Thursday, 7 April and Friday, 8 April to undertake its annual stocktaking and planning for the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

The event will bring together more than 50 participants, including directors of fisheries, chief fisheries officers, and other development partners, such as NGOs and international organizations like the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, which work with the CRFM in promoting the development, management and conservation of the Caribbean’s fisheries resources.

Justin Rennie, Chief Fisheries Officer of Grenada, will demit chairmanship of the Forum to Denzil Roberts, Chief Fisheries Officer of Guyana, for the 12-month period spanning the new program year which commenced on 1 April. A new vice chairman will also be selected.

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, highlighted the most pressing issues on the agenda: “We’re discussing a lot of emerging issues in the region. We are looking at how to improve conservation and management of key species, apply and use the value chain approach in order to increase benefits, such as increased income and export potential. We are discussing sanitary and phytosanitary capacity as a part of our overall strategy to strengthen our trade capacity, so that we can indeed export more to key international markets and also to provide greater quality and safety in terms of the fish and seafood that we provide for our people as well as our guests and tourists coming into the region.”

Haughton added that the 17 CRFM Member States are also looking at ways to strengthen the linkage between fisheries and tourism, “because the tourism sector is a huge sector and we believe we have a golden opportunity to enhance the linkages between fisheries and tourism to derive more benefits—more income, more employment opportunities—for our fishers and their communities.”

The Forum will also review the region’s progress in implementing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP), as well as initiatives to strengthen research, and institutional and human capacity through the CRFM’s collaboration with a number of development partners such as the University of the West Indies (UWI), the University of Florida in the USA, the International Ocean Institute, Dalhousie University, Canada; the University of Wollongong in Australia, and the United Nations University in Iceland.

This collaboration is vital in ensuring that CRFM Member States are equipped with the human and institutional capacity needed to tackle the increasing challenges of sustainable development that confront them—challenges which are being exacerbated by climate change.

One such challenge is the emergence of the Sargassum seaweed on the region’s beaches and in the coastal waters.

“Last year and 2011 we had massive influx of Sargassum seaweed on our beaches that affected our fisheries. So we are putting in place measures to deal with the Sargassum seaweed should it return in the future—we hope it won’t, but just in case it does—and from all indications, we are expecting to have more of this seaweed coming on our shores and in our coastal waters,” Haughton said.

Haughton said that associated with the Sargassum seaweed are large numbers of juvenile dolphinfish (locally known as mahimahi)—which is a very important target species in the Eastern Caribbean.

“Our fishermen, of course, once they see these in large quantities, even though they are juveniles, they will catch them. So we are promoting the implementation of emergency, precautionary management measures; that is, minimum size limits for the dolphinfish fishery,” Haughton said.

Aquaculture is also big on the agenda, and the Forum will discuss a new 5-year aquaculture action plan, which they will be asked to endorse. Since land mass is limited in our region, non-conventional aquaculture schemes are being promoted and explored.

“Aquaponics is something that has been growing in the region—this is growing fish and vegetables together in a limited area using re-circulating water systems. This is more suitable for the smaller islands, like Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados,” Haughton explained.

On the second day of the meeting, the Forum members will discuss a proposal from the United States to support fishers through a risk insurance facility, Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), which will be handling the technical details for the development of the policy. Under this regime, CRFM Member States will make contributions to the scheme in addition to the initial contribution of the USA.

The Caribbean Fisheries Forum will conclude its meeting with recommendations to be submitted at the next meeting of the CRFM’s Ministerial Council—the chief policy making body on fisheries in the Caribbean Region.

 

IICA as the implementing agency for the 10th EDF sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures Project and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), a Partner under the Project to develop/strengthen the national and/or regional regulatory and industry capacity related to health and food safety in fisheries and aquaculture to meet the SPS requirements of international trade in areas such as inspection, import/export certification, diagnostics, risk assessment, surveillance, reporting.

Closing date for receipt of Expression of Interest has been extended to May 2016 at 4:00pm Eastern Caribbean Time.  Click here for further details

IICA as the implementing agency for the 10th EDF Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures Project and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), a Partner under the Project are seeking a qualified and experienced company/firm/consortium to continue strengthening national and regional SPS systems for establishing a fully comprehensive legislative framework for health and food safety in the fisheries sector.

Please refer to the attached document for further details regarding the consultancy. Closing date for receipt of Expression of Interest is 6 May 2016 at 4:00pm Eastern Caribbean Time.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016 15:41

Seafood, sun and sand

Fish on the grill at the Oistin’s fish fry
Photo: Aniya Legnaro/Barbados study

 CRFM seeks to strengthen the linkages between Fisheries and Tourism

The Caribbean’s massive import bill can be reduced if the synergies between fisheries and tourism are strengthened

BELIZE CITY, Belize, March 16, 2016 (CRFM)—A delightful supper of freshly caught, grilled fish or lobster often adds a special touch to the Caribbean experience of tourists who come to the region not just for “sea, sun and sand”—but also for its superb seafood!
 
Through tourism, which brings almost 30 million visitors to our shores each year and which contributes nearly $50 billion to the regional economy, the potential exists to catalyze the socio-economic impact which fisheries has across the region. The two multi-billion-dollar sectors are intricately intertwined, and even as tourism is the backbone of the region’s economy, so too is fisheries.
 
On Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18, at Blue Horizon Hotel in Bridgetown, Barbados, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will host a meeting of an expert working group to review and the validate a draft report which explores ways of improving the linkages between fisheries and tourism.
 
The CRFM Secretariat has been engaged in a 5-month project funded by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) to prepare four case studies that explore this vital link between fisheries and tourism-related markets in the Caribbean. Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize and Grenada are the CRFM Member States which have been participating in the project, but its findings are useful for the entire region.
 
The studies recognize that there is potential for more fisheries earnings within the tourism sector. They assert that, “High-quality food, every day of the year, is essential to hotels, lodges and resorts. Often, the food purchasing bill of a tourism site is large in the context of the local economy, but surprisingly little is spent locally.”
 
Milton Haughton, the CRFM’s Executive Director, explains that if the linkages between fisheries and tourism are nurtured and strengthened, this would lead to more economic opportunities and furthermore reduce the region’s massive food import bill, keeping more Caribbean dollars at home for the benefit of coastal and rural communities.
 
The Antigua study looked at the connection between lobster production and tourism, as well as the eco-tourism experience offered by Stingray City (Antigua) Limited, which allows primarily cruise tourists to interact with southern stingrays (Dasyatis americana) in their natural environment.
 
The Barbados study notes that, “Over the last 10 years, the weekend Fish Frys, such as those in Oistins on the south coast and Half Moon Fort (Moon Town) on the West Coast, have emerged as major features in the country’s tourism product and attract a large number of visitors who have the opportunity to interact with the many locals that patronize them.”
 
“The contributions of Fisheries and Tourism to the economy of Belize have been significant. However, little attempt has been made to explore the synergies existing between the two sectors. Growth and development has been pursued separately and policies and institutions have not recognized nor advanced opportunities for cooperation,” the Belize study notes.
 
The Grenada study says that, “Marine fisheries resources now provide significant opportunity for tourism services-providers to earn livelihoods. Dive sites, sightseeing and surface tours are now important factors in the tourism products and services.”
 
The case studies are expected to foster the diversification of the region’s economy, expanded value-added products from fisheries, as well as more sustainable trade and employment creation, as they shed light on key institutional and policy bottlenecks that must be addressed to upscale benefits to fisheries and tourism stakeholders.

 

 

Three representatives of the Japan-funded Caribbean Fisheries Co-management Project (CARIFICO) discussed the progress of the multi-million-dollar project with representatives of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) on an official visit to Belize on Monday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 15.

 

Milton Haughton, CRFM Executive Director, met with Mr. Masaru Honda, Team Leader and Chief Advisor in the Fisheries Department in St. Lucia; Mitsujiro Ishida, Marine Biologist, based at the Fisheries Division in Antigua and Barbuda; and Minoru Tamura, JICA Expert in fisheries management, based at the CRFM Secretariat’s office in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Japanese Experts were accompanied by Mikhail Francis, CARIFICO project Administrative Officer, who is also based at the CRFM Secretariat’s office in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

 

The CRFM Executive Director, in welcoming the Japanese Experts to Belize, said: “The region is very pleased with the technical assistance and support provided by the Government of Japan and the work of the Japanese Experts in building the capacity and knowledge base for sustainable fisheries and in improving livelihoods in fishing communities across the region.”

 

Japan’s fisheries cooperation with CARICOM has spanned two decades. In May 2013, the CRFM and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) partnered to implement the project, primarily aimed at helping fisheries stakeholders to better harness increased catches even as measures are implemented to strengthen the monitoring and management of pelagic species which are exploited using Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs).

 

The CARIFICO project field activities are programmed to run until April 2018 in six pilot countries across the Eastern Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada.

 

 

Applications are invited from interested and suitably qualified nationals of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism Member States to fill the position of PROGRAMME MANAGER – RESEARCH AND RESOURCE ASSESSMENT

Applications in English Language with full curriculum details, including nationality, work experience, educational qualifications, summary of professional skills and/or expertise, list of professional publications, coordinates (including e-mail addresses) of three referees (at least two of whom must be familiar with the applicant’s work), and other relevant information, should be addressed to the Executive Director, Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat, Belize City, Belize, and sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

The deadline for the submission of applications is 30 April 2016.

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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

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