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Belize City, Wednesday, 31 July 2019 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to enhance comprehensive disaster management and climate change resilience in the fisheries and aquaculture sector within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, signed the MOU for CRFM while the Executive Director of CDEMA, Ronald Jackson, signed on behalf of CDEMA. The signing took place during the Tenth General Meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United Nations (UN) System, on Wednesday, 24 July 2019, in Georgetown, Guyana.

The CRFM Executive Director said: “This MOU was prepared to facilitate enhanced cooperation between the CRFM and CDEMA, recognizing the need for effective and progressive responses to the urgent and growing threats of climate change and associated hazards, as well as the vulnerability of our fisherfolk and fishing communities which constitute a very important part of our food production system.”

 

CRFM-CDEMA 1

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton (right), joins Ronald Jackson, CDEMA Executive Director, in inking a Memorandum of Understanding (attached) to strengthen cooperation in disaster management and resilience (Photo: CARICOM Secretariat)

 

Immediate attention will be given to cooperation for sustained support for the Fisheries Early Warning and Emergency Response (FEWER) ICT Solution that had been spearheaded by the CRFM during 2017-18 in the course of the Regional Track of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), supported by the Inter-American Development Bank and The Mona Office of Research and Innovation (MORI) at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica.

Other areas of cooperation include joint project initiatives, training, capacity building and awareness activities, data and information collection and dissemination, and a support mechanism to help CARICOM countries and fishing communities prepare for and manage the threats and risks arising from manmade and natural hazards, including storms and hurricanes. The agreement also addresses post-disaster rehabilitation and recovery support for the restoration of services, infrastructure and livelihoods, as well as the restoration of the physical and ecological integrity of the affected coastal ecosystems.

 

In commenting on the signing, the Executive Director of CDEMA indicated that, “This represents CDEMA’s commitment to partnerships with other regional Institutions in an effort to advance resilience.” He expressed enthusiasm that CDEMA would be able to support the hosting infrastructure for the FEWER ICT Solution. Mr. Jackson furthermore pointed out this was in keeping with CDEMA’s role in advancing a comprehensive programme for Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems, as well as serving as a regional hub for warning infrastructure.

FEWER reduces fishers’ vulnerability to the impacts of climate change but also allows them to share local ecological knowledge to inform climate-smart fisheries planning and management, decision-making, as well as risk management in the fisheries sector. During 2017-18, the CRFM, IDB and UWI ICT experts worked with government authorities and fishers in Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to pilot the development of the FEWER. The CRFM-CDEMA partnership is an essential step towards sustainably rolling out FEWER to other countries.

The CRFM’s Ministerial Council had signaled its support at its 13th Regular Meeting held this June 2019 in Saint Kitts and Nevis, for the CRFM’s partnership with CDEMA, which had been developing as both CARICOM inter-governmental agencies mobilized to support to Member States in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.

In October 2018, the Council approved a protocol on climate change and disaster risk management under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, for which the CRFM has the implementation lead.

The CRFM has also been working with the CCRIF and World Bank to introduce risk insurance to protect the fisheries sector against disasters. The Caribbean Oceans and Aquaculture Sustainability Facility (COAST) Parametric insurance policy for the fisheries sector was launched at the beginning of July 2018. The policy was developed by CCRIF and the World Bank with support from the Government of the USA.

The 17 Member States of the CRFM are also members of CDEMA. They are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Republic of Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands. The Virgin Islands is the only CDEMA member that is not a member of the CRFM.

 

 

Belize City, Friday, 19 July 2019 (CRFM)— Eighteen border control officers from seven Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are currently undergoing a four-week training course in Fisheries Prosecution and Interdiction, organized by the Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS) in collaboration with the CRFM Secretariat, the Government of Barbados, and the British Royal Navy’s Fisheries Protection Squadron.

 

The training, being held at the Paragon Base of the Barbados Defense Force, brings together officers of the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force Coast Guard; Antigua and Barbuda Fisheries Division; Barbados Coast Guard; Royal Barbados Police Force Marine Unit; Barbados Fisheries Division; Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force; Royal Grenada Police Force Marine Unit; the St. Kitts-Nevis Defense Force Coast Guard; Royal Saint Lucia Police Force Marine Unit; and the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Coast Guard.

 

The course is expected to improve the skills and competencies of authorized officers responsible for enforcing the Fisheries Acts and Fisheries Regulations, and supporting administrative policies.

 

Participants are increasing their ability to function in an operational environment and in accordance with best practices based on the CRFM’s Prosecution and Enforcement Manuals for CARIFORUM Member States: Volume 1 – Fisheries Prosecution Manual; and Volume 2 – Fisheries Enforcement Standard Operating Procedures Manual.

 

These officers who have border security and fisheries prosecution responsibilities, will become more knowledgeable of the correct procedures to follow while enforcing the laws under their Fisheries Acts and Regulations. They will also become better able to prepare for trial proceedings where offences are committed in violation of the Fisheries Laws and where illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing is perpetrated. IUU fishing is a major concern for the region, since it undermines efforts to conserve and sustainably manage fisheries resources and furthermore jeopardizes food security, livelihoods, and foreign exchange earnings from fisheries.

 

Participants working on cases for mock trial

Participants working on cases for mock trial (Photo: CRFM)

 

The subject matter experts who facilitated the course were drawn from the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat; the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) – Barbados; the Royal Barbados Police Force Marine Unit; Royal Navy – Fisheries Protection Squadron; the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy – Barbados; and the Regional Security System Headquarters. Successful participants will be awarded an RSS Certificate of Training for the completion of the Fisheries Prosecution and Interdiction course.

 

This course was jointly funded by the European Union through the 10th EDF Project and Regional Security System (RSS). The RSS is an international agreement for the defense and security of the Eastern Caribbean region. The seven member nations are: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

 

Member States cooperate in the prevention and interdiction of trafficking in illegal narcotic drugs, in national emergencies, search and rescue, immigration control, fisheries protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, natural and other disasters, pollution control, combating threats to national security, the prevention of smuggling, and in the protection of offshore installations and exclusive economic zones. The RSS also provides training for joint land and maritime operations, disaster relief, anti-drug operations and antiterrorism, and intelligence gathering and sharing.

Delegates from CRFM Member States and CRFM Secretariat staff at the Thirteenth Regular Meeting of the Ministerial Council SM

Delegates from CRFM Member States and CRFM Secretariat staff at theThirteenth Reguar Meeting of the Ministerial Council

 

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Tuesday, 18 June 2019 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers who met for two days last week in Saint Kitts and Nevis have underscored the need for the region to take urgent action to address the ongoing Sargassum scourge, as well as Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing—two of the most pressing challenges responsible for multimillion-dollar losses to the regional economy.

 

Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture, Health, National Health Insurance, Human Settlements, Community Development, Gender Affairs, Social Services, Land and Cooperatives, of Saint Kitts and Nevis, delivered the feature address at the official ceremony of the 13th Regular Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), opened on Thursday, 13 June 2019 at the Marriott Resort in Frigate Bay, Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Honourable Eugene Hamilton of Saint Kitts elected as chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council Cropped

I applaud all of our efforts as Member States, as we continually stress the need to establish sustainable small-scale fisheries; as we institute mechanisms for fisheries co-management; and as we promote mitigation and adaptation measures as climate change and disaster risk management responses,” Minister Hamilton said.

 

Later on during the proceedings, Minister Hamilton assumed chairmanship of the Council from Montserrat’s Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Honourable David Osborne. St. Lucia was elected as vice chair.

 

Speaking on behalf of Minister Osborne, Mrs. Eulyn Silcott-Greaves, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, of Montserrat, charged the Council to “be mindful of the challenges and complexities that we are called to mitigate—if not fully remedy—such as climate change and the increasing demand on the fisheries, aquaculture and oceans systems for goods and services.”


Honourable Eugene Hamilton of Saint Kitts and Nevis elected as chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council  (left)

 

In his remarks to the Council, Mr. Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM, said: “We are establishing a solid foundation and a strong regional policy framework within the context of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy that should guide our actions over the next 10 to 20 years in achieving our developmental objectives in fisheries and aquaculture.” Haughton added that it is only through joint efforts that the region can resolve problems such as those associated with climate change, IUU fishing, and the Sargassum inundation.

 

Sargassum inundation -- seen here in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines -- continues to affect countries across the Caribbean

Sargassum inundation -- seen here in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines -- continues to impact countries across the Caribbean

 

During Council deliberations on the Sargassum problem, Grenada’s Minister of Fisheries, Hon. Alvin Dabreo, emphasized the need for immediate measures to curb the impacts. The meeting agreed that urgent action is needed on multiple fronts to address the problem, and highlighted the need for support from international development partners.

 

In relation to IUU fishing, Hon. Floyd Green, Jamaica’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, spoke of the problems that Jamaica has recently been facing due to IUU fishing by vessels from countries such as Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Jamaica has had to extend the close-season for the Queen Conch fishery indefinitely, due to the adverse effects of IUU fishing on stock abundance.

 

The Ministerial Council “[affirmed that] IUU fishing is a major problem affecting Queen Conch fisheries in the region and highlighted the need to more aggressively pursue national and regionally coordinated action to combat IUU fishing and protect the fisheries resources, including direct engagement with the flag States of the IUU vessels and the market States where the IUU catches are exported.”

 

It furthermore endorsed the collective regional efforts to engage both the market States where IUU fish is sold and the IUU fishing nations for conch, lobster and other high-value species.

 

The Ministers considered scientific advice and recommendations from the 17th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, held in March in Saint Kitts and Nevis. This included measures to improve the resilience of fishing communities and marine ecosystems to climate change, as well as actions being taken to improve adaptation and disaster risk response. Furthermore, it deliberated upon actions needed to improve the conservation and management of fisheries resources and ecosystems; strengthen systems for evidence-based decision making; promote the blue economy; and strengthen partnerships with development partners and donors.

 

Before the Council Meeting, the CRFM convened the 3rd Meeting of the Ministerial Sub-Committee on the Flyingfish Fishery in the Eastern Caribbean. During that meeting, chaired by Hon. Ezekiel Joseph, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Cooperatives, of Saint Lucia, the members noted that a significant amount of work in support of conservation and management of the Eastern Caribbean Flyingfish Fishery had been done through the CLME+ Flyingfish Sub-project. The Council also signaled its support for the finalization of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Management Plan for Flyingfish in the Eastern Caribbean, 2020-2025.

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers will assemble on Thursday and Friday of this week, from 13-14 June, at the Marriott Resort in Frigate Bay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, for the 13th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).

On the occasion of the Council Meeting, Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture, Health, National Health Insurance, Human Settlements, Community Development, Gender Affairs, Social Services, Land and Cooperatives, will assume chairmanship of the Council from Montserrat’s Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Honourable David Osborne.

The main proceedings of the Council Meeting will be preceded by the 3rd Meeting of the Ministerial Sub-Committee on the Flyingfish Fishery in the Eastern Caribbean. Thereafter, the Council will deliberate upon the state of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the Caribbean region, and review status and trends in order to inform their decisions and policies at both the regional and national levels.

The Ministers will consider several recommendations arising from the 17th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, held in March in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Forum provides technical leadership to the CRFM and scientific advice to the Ministerial Council. The Council, on the other hand, is the chief decision- and policy-making arm of the Mechanism.

At the upcoming two-day annual meeting, the Ministers will take a critical look at challenges confronting the fisheries and aquaculture sector, but more importantly at the interventions needed to effectively confront them.

The Executive Director of the CRFM, Milton Haughton said, “This meeting will address ongoing efforts to improve resilience in fishing communities and to adapt to climate change; combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing; improve conservation and management of fisheries resources and ecosystems; strengthen systems for evidence-based decision making; respond to the Sargassum inundation affecting the fisheries sector; promote the blue economy and strengthen partnerships with development partners and donors.”

The last regular meeting of the Council was hosted in May 2018 in Montserrat. The Council also meets for a Special Meeting during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, convened around October each year.

 

 

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers will assemble on Thursday and Friday of this week, from 13-14 June, at the Marriott Resort in Frigate Bay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, for the 13th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).

On the occasion of the Council Meeting, Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture, Health, National Health Insurance, Human Settlements, Community Development, Gender Affairs, Social Services, Land and Cooperatives, will assume chairmanship of the Council from Montserrat’s Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Honourable David Osborne.

The main proceedings of the Council Meeting will be preceded by the 3rd Meeting of the Ministerial Sub-Committee on the Flyingfish Fishery in the Eastern Caribbean. Thereafter, the Council will deliberate upon the state of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the Caribbean region, and review status and trends in order to inform their decisions and policies at both the regional and national levels.

The Ministers will consider several recommendations arising from the 17th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, held in March in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Forum provides technical leadership to the CRFM and scientific advice to the Ministerial Council. The Council, on the other hand, is the chief decision- and policy-making arm of the Mechanism.

At the upcoming two-day annual meeting, the Ministers will take a critical look at challenges confronting the fisheries and aquaculture sector, but more importantly at the interventions needed to effectively confront them.

The Executive Director of the CRFM, Milton Haughton said, “This meeting will address ongoing efforts to improve resilience in fishing communities and to adapt to climate change; combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing; improve conservation and management of fisheries resources and ecosystems; strengthen systems for evidence-based decision making; respond to the Sargassum inundation affecting the fisheries sector; promote the blue economy and strengthen partnerships with development partners and donors.”

The last regular meeting of the Council was hosted in May 2018 in Montserrat. The Council also meets for a Special Meeting during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, convened around October each year.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, 10 April 2019 --The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and CCRIF SPC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop climate-resilient fisheries and aquaculture industries in the region. The purpose of the MOU is to formalize collaboration around the Caribbean Oceans and Aquaculture Sustainability Facility (COAST) initiative, which will help to reduce the risk that climate change poses to food security and nutrition and to mitigate climate change impacts on sustainable food production as it relates to the fisheries sector.

Specifically, the MOU will facilitate:

  • The finalization of a sovereign insurance COAST product for the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in the Caribbean;
  • The rollout of the COAST product, including inter alia communication to improve awareness and understanding among stakeholders, and training for government officials and professionals in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors;
  • Continual support and promotion of the COAST product within CRFM Member States;
  • Exploration and promotion of microinsurance products for small enterprises, fishers and other persons in the fisheries and aquaculture industries;
  • Promotion of climate-resilient fishing, fish farming and resource management practices among CRFM Member States.

 

CCRIF CEO, Mr. Isaac Anthony indicated that, “We are pleased that through this initiative, CCRIF will add a fisheries/aquaculture product to its current suite of parametric insurance policies for tropical cyclones, excess rainfall and earthquakes – thus expanding the portfolio of catastrophe insurance options for the countries in this region." Providing this option to governments in the region will support CRFM’s mandate to promote the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, specifically the Protocol on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries and Aquaculture.

 

“Fishers and fishing communities in the Caribbean are facing increasing threats and risks from climate change and related hazards,” said Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM. “We welcome this partnership between the CRFM and CCRIF. The insurance products which will become available will help enormously to reduce the risks and uncertainties, as well as improve resilience of our fishing communities by enabling them to recover and rebuild without delay after disaster events,” he noted.

 

Jagbir-Garcia Headley and Manji

 

(L-R): Ms. Yinka Jagbir-Garcia, Dr. Maren Headley and Dr. Stephen Manji

 

CCRIF and CRFM have collaborated in the past and CRFM has also participated as a host organization in CCRIF’s Regional Internship Programme. In 2017, Ms. Yinka Jagbir-Garcia from Trinidad worked as an intern at the CRFM and over a 2-month period assisted with the development of a Model Disaster Management Plan for the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector of CRFM Member States.

 

 

About the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism: The CRFM is an organization established to promote and facilitate the responsible utilization of the Caribbean region’s fisheries and other aquatic resources for the economic and social benefits of the current and future population of the region. It is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, including the Protocol on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries and Aquaculture, which has the goal of ensuring development of regional fisheries and aquaculture sectors that are resilient to climate change and ocean acidification, and enhanced through comprehensive disaster management and sustainable use of marine and other aquatic living resources and ecosystems.

 

About CCRIF SPC: CCRIF SPC is a segregated portfolio company, owned, operated and registered in the Caribbean. It limits the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes and excess rainfall events to Caribbean and – since 2015 – Central American governments by quickly providing short-term liquidity when a parametric insurance policy is triggered. It is the world’s first regional fund utilizing parametric insurance, giving member governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake, hurricane and excess rainfall catastrophe coverage with lowest-possible pricing. CCRIF was developed under the technical leadership of the World Bank and with a grant from the Government of Japan. It was capitalized through contributions to a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) by the Government of Canada, the European Union, the World Bank, the governments of the UK and France, the Caribbean Development Bank and the governments of Ireland and Bermuda, as well as through membership fees paid by participating governments. In 2014, an MDTF was established by the World Bank to support the development of CCRIF SPC’s new products for current and potential members, and facilitate the entry for Central American countries and additional Caribbean countries. The MDTF currently channels funds from various donors, including: Canada, through Global Affairs Canada; the United States, through the Department of the Treasury; the European Union, through the European Commission, and Germany, through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and KfW, and Ireland. In 2017, the Caribbean Development Bank, with resources provided by Mexico, approved a grant to CCRIF SPC to provide enhanced insurance coverage to the Bank’s Borrowing Member Countries.

 

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Tuesday, 19 March 2019 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will convene the 17th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum on 20-21 March 2019 at the Bird Rock Beach Hotel, Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis.

 

Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture, Health, National Health Insurance, Human Settlements, Community Development, Gender Affairs, Social Services, Land and Cooperatives will deliver the feature address. Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM, and outgoing chair of the Forum, Alwyn Ponteen of the Fisheries Division in Montserrat, will also address the gathering.

 

At the annual two-day meeting, heads of national fisheries authorities in CRFM Member States, and representatives from observer bodies and partner organisations will discuss the state of the region’s fisheries and aquaculture resources, challenges confronting the sector, interventions being led by the CRFM, as well as priority actions to promote blue growth and ensure sustainable use, conservation and management of the region’s fisheries resources and marine ecosystems.

 

The CRFM Secretariat will provide an update on a recently concluded, regional study on the impacts of unprecedented Sargassum inundation on the Caribbean. The CRFM has noted that 2018 was a year of record high influx. There are ongoing concerns over the impact on fisheries, and the broader socio-economic and environmental impacts on coastal communities across our region.

 

It is also expected that the Forum will agree on future plans for research and development, sustainable management and use of fisheries resources, sustainable development of aquaculture, and the adaptation to climate change and disaster risk management in fisheries. They will furthermore discuss capacity-building and institutional strengthening, and enhanced collaboration across Member States.

 

The Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the technical arm of the CRFM, will be updated on the status of implementation of 2018 decisions of the Forum and Ministerial Council. It will subsequently outline a set of recommendations for action, to be tabled at the upcoming meeting of the Ministerial Council, due to be hosted in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis in May 2019.

 

The last meeting of the Forum was hosted in Montserrat, which has served as chair of the Forum for the past year. The leadership of the Forum will now be handed over to St. Kitts and Nevis for 2019-2020. A vice chair is also to be elected to help lead the Forum.

 

 

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, FRIDAY, 25 January 2019 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has initiated a regional fact-finding study to document the record-breaking influx of Sargassum seaweed in the Caribbean Sea in 2018, and the impacts this phenomenon has been having on countries in the region since 2011.

The fact-finding survey is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), that has coordinated official development assistance from Japan to CARICOM States for over two decades.

Over the past 7 years, massive Sargassum influxes have been having adverse effects on national and regional economies in the Caribbean, with substantial loss of livelihoods and economic opportunities, primarily in the fisheries and tourism sectors. Large Sargassum influxes had been experienced in this region in 2011, 2014 and 2015, but it reached unprecedented levels in 2018, with more Sargassum affecting the Caribbean for a longer period of time than had previously been observed.

It is estimated that clean-up could cost the Caribbean at least $120 million in 2018. The CRFM Ministerial Council adopted the “Protocol for the Management of Extreme Accumulations of Sargassum on the Coasts of CRFM Member States” in 2016. The protocol has been guiding the drafting of national Sargassum management protocols for Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with support from the CC4FISH project, an initiative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

In the coming weeks, the CRFM Secretariat will lead extensive consultations with key national stakeholders in the public and private sector, including interests in fisheries, tourism, and environment, as well as with coastal communities and other related sectors. Remote surveys and field missions in select Member States will provide a broad knowledge-base on exactly how the phenomenon has been affecting the countries.

 

PHOTO-Consett Bay

Consett Bay, on the east coast of Barbados, also experienced major Sargassum inundation during 2018. (Photo: CRFM)

 

Through the project, the CRFM will identify heavily affected areas, the time and frequency of extreme blossoms and accumulation of Sargassum, the quantity of accumulation, and elements associated with it, such as the species of fish and types of debris. A review of the history and scope of the impacts (both positive and negative) will be conducted and the extent of financial losses quantified. The CRFM will also identify research and countermeasures taken by the national governments, regional organizations, research institutions, and other development partners and donors. Finally, the study will suggest actions and scope of support that Japan may provide to help the countries address the problem.

During the study, the CRFM will engage other regional institutions such as Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC), the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies at the University of the West Indies (CERMES-UWI), the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, (CIMH), the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission. The CRFM will also engage development partners which have been doing Sargassum-related work in the region, including the FAO, UN Environment Regional Coordinating Unit, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and IOCARIBE, the Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), an agency of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

According to the CRFM, Sargassum influxes disrupt fishing operations through gear entanglement and damage; impeding fishing and other vessels at sea; reducing catches of key fisheries species, such as flyingfish and adult dolphinfish; changing the availability and distribution of coastal and pelagic fisheries resources; and disrupting coastal fishing communities and tourism activities.

However, this challenge has also inspired innovative interventions, and opportunities for revenue-generation include value-addition through the production of fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, animal feed, and biofuel. The CRFM notes, though, that the financial or other benefits remain to be quantified.

The Sargassum phenomenon is believed to be driven by several factors, including climate change and increased sea surface temperature; change in regional winds and ocean current patterns; increased supply of Saharan dust; and nutrients from rivers, sewage and nitrogen-based fertilizers.

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, FRIDAY, 25 January 2019 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has initiated a regional fact-finding study to document the record-breaking influx of Sargassum seaweed in the Caribbean Sea in 2018, and the impacts this phenomenon has been having on countries in the region since 2011.

 

The fact-finding survey is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), that has coordinated official development assistance from Japan to CARICOM States for over two decades.

 

Over the past 7 years, massive Sargassum influxes have been having adverse effects on national and regional economies in the Caribbean, with substantial loss of livelihoods and economic opportunities, primarily in the fisheries and tourism sectors. Large Sargassum influxes had been experienced in this region in 2011, 2014 and 2015, but it reached unprecedented levels in 2018, with more Sargassum affecting the Caribbean for a longer period of time than had previously been observed.

 

It is estimated that clean-up could cost the Caribbean at least $120 million in 2018. The CRFM Ministerial Council adopted the “Protocol for the Management of Extreme Accumulations of Sargassum on the Coasts of CRFM Member States” in 2016. The protocol has been guiding the drafting of national Sargassum management protocols for Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with support from the CC4FISH project, an initiative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

 

In the coming weeks, the CRFM Secretariat will lead extensive consultations with key national stakeholders in the public and private sector, including interests in fisheries, tourism, and environment, as well as with coastal communities and other related sectors. Remote surveys and field missions in select Member States will provide a broad knowledge-base on exactly how the phenomenon has been affecting the countries.

 

PHOTO-Consett Bay

 

Through the project, the CRFM will identify heavily affected areas, the time and frequency of extreme blossoms and accumulation of Sargassum, the quantity of accumulation, and elements associated with it, such as the species of fish and types of debris. A review of the history and scope of the impacts (both positive and negative) will be conducted and the extent of financial losses quantified. The CRFM will also identify research and countermeasures taken by the national governments, regional organizations, research institutions, and other development partners and donors. Finally, the study will suggest actions and scope of support that Japan may provide to help the countries address the problem.

 

During the study, the CRFM will engage other regional institutions such as Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC), the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies at the University of the West Indies (CERMES-UWI), the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, (CIMH), the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission. The CRFM will also engage development partners which have been doing Sargassum-related work in the region, including the FAO, UN Environment Regional Coordinating Unit, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and IOCARIBE, the Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), an agency of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

 

According to the CRFM, Sargassum influxes disrupt fishing operations through gear entanglement and damage; impeding fishing and other vessels at sea; reducing catches of key fisheries species, such as flyingfish and adult dolphinfish; changing the availability and distribution of coastal and pelagic fisheries resources; and disrupting coastal fishing communities and tourism activities.

 

However, this challenge has also inspired innovative interventions, and opportunities for revenue-generation include value-addition through the production of fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, animal feed, and biofuel. The CRFM notes, though, that the financial or other benefits remain to be quantified.

 

The Sargassum phenomenon is believed to be driven by several factors, including climate change and increased sea surface temperature; change in regional winds and ocean current patterns; increased supply of Saharan dust; and nutrients from rivers, sewage and nitrogen-based fertilizers.

 

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, SUNDAY, 14 October 2018 (CRFM)—A Protocol on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries and Aquaculture was approved for CARICOM States during a recent high-level meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).

 

At the 8th Special Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council held in Barbados on Thursday, 11 October 2018, during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, the ministers approved the protocol to the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP), which promotes cooperation and collaboration among Caribbean people, fishers and governments in conserving, managing, and sustainably using fisheries and related ecosystems, as well as improving the welfare and livelihood of fisherfolk in the region.

 

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, said, “This protocol is of paramount importance in the region, given the urgent and ever-increasing threats to fishing communities, fishers and the health of marine ecosystems and associated fish stocks in the region posed not only by warming waters and climate change but also by the acidification of the oceans, as a result of increased absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

 

Haughton said that among the obvious challenges are the bleaching and destruction of corals reefs, frequent massive blooms of Sargassum and other harmful marine algae, and the devastation caused by storms, hurricanes and floods that States must now contend with.

 

Hurricane Maria devastated the Roseau Fisheries Complex in Dominica laHurricane Maria devastated the Roseau Fisheries Complex in Dominica last year Fisheries Division Dominica

 

This protocol on climate change and disaster risk management comes as the region is still trying to bounce back from the devastating impacts of two catastrophic hurricanes, Irma and Maria, which struck last year. Photo: Roseau Fisheries Complex in Dominica (Fisheries Division, Dominica)

 

The damage our countries suffer is not limited to what is seen on land but also extends to the valuable natural resources under the sea which we often do not see,” the Executive Director added.

 

Haughton explained that the protocol provides pragmatic tools and measures to enable States and stakeholders to adapt and build resilience by working together and sharing experiences and best practices. He also emphasized the need for donors and international development partners to recognize the challenges faced by the countries in the coastal and marine environment, and to support their initiatives by providing tangible technical assistance and funding to help with implementation of the protocol.

 

In May 2018, the CRFM Ministerial Council approved another protocol under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy; that is, the Protocol on Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries for Caribbean Community fisherfolk and societies under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, aimed at improving the livelihood and welfare of small-scale fishers who are involved the harvesting, processing and marketing of fish and seafood.

 

The approved protocols were submitted to the CARICOM’s Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), which met on Friday 12 October, at the culmination of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture.

 

The development of Protocol on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries and Aquaculture was fast-tracked with support from the Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean Fisheries Sector (CC4FISH) Project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The initiative was implemented in the context of a technical cooperation agreement signed earlier this year by the CRFM and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

 

 Ministerial Council meeting 1

CRFM Ministerial Council meeting during Caribbean Week of Agriculture, which concluded on Friday (CRFM)

 

At the Ministerial Council meeting, chaired by David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment (MATLHE) of Montserrat, the policymakers also addressed social and welfare issues in the fisheries and aquaculture sector by issuing a policy statement on gender, youth and decent work as follows:

 

The Council accepted that international and national norms regarding issues pertaining to gender, youth, and decent work be adhered to, and be incorporated into all CRFM policies, protocols, programmes, and plans.”

 

In addition, the Council approved a concept note for a proposed project to reduce the vulnerability of coastal and marine social-ecological systems across CARICOM to Sargassum influxes. They also called upon the donor community and development partners to provide the technical assistance and funding needed to support implementation of the project, as well as the two Protocols adopted under the Common Fisheries Policy.

 

READ the protocol below or download the PDF version attached.

 

 

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