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15 May 2015


Published in Documents


St. George’s, Grenada, 13 May 2015 (CRFM): Fisheries Ministers from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are expected to sign off on the Declaration on Spiny Lobster by way of a resolution, when they convene the 9th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the CRFM on Friday, 15 May 2015 at Flamboyant Hotel in St. George's, Grenada.

The non-binding declaration establishes a roadmap for closer cooperation among the 17 CARICOM/CRFM States to ensure long-term conservation and sustainable use of the lobster resources.

The Ministerial Council meeting is scheduled to open at 9:00 a.m. The feature address will be delivered by Honourable Roland Bhola, Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Grenada, who will assume the chairmanship of the Council on the occasion of the meeting from Honourable Johnson Drigo, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dominica.

Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM Secretariat in Belize, said: “This is another important policy-level meeting of the CRFM Member States as they seek to strengthen cooperative arrangements, to realize the full development potential of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the region.

“Our vision and long-term goal is to transform the region’s fisheries and aquaculture into sustainable systems, in order to optimize the sector’s contribution to food and nutritional security, improved livelihoods and wealth generation, through the application of science and technology, good governance, and inclusive, sustainable development strategies.”

When they meet this Friday, the Caribbean Fisheries Ministers will be reviewing the progress being made in the implementation of existing policy instruments and programs. In charting the way forward, they will also make decisions on the next steps in the transformation process.

High on their agenda will be the endorsement of the process now underway to develop the Plan of Action to facilitate the implementation of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP).

The Fisheries Ministers will also discuss an initiative recently announced by the Government of the United States during the Caribbean Energy Summit on climate risk insurance for the Caribbean fisheries sector. This is in line with efforts to achieve Climate Smart Food Security (CSFS) using a Risk Insurance Facility (RIF).

The Ministerial Council will finally receive a full report on the outcome and recommendations of the 13th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, held in St. George’s, Grenada at the end of March this year.

The Ministerial Council of the CRFM is the arm of the CRFM which has primary responsibility for determining the policies of the organisation, resource allocation, cooperative agreements, and related decision-making.


Published in Press release
Friday, 13 February 2015 16:04

Preliminary List of Meetings 2015



DATE (2015)




14 Jan

Meeting of the Secretary-General, Ambassador / Change Drivers and Heads of Community Institutions to Consider the Implementation Plan for Community Strategic Plan

Georgetown, Guyana


20 - 23 Jan

Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond area of national jurisdiction

UN HQ, New York


21 Jan

CARICOM-Japan Friendship Year: JICA Seminar

Kingston, Jamaica


2 – 3 Feb (Officials)

5 – 6 Feb (Ministerial)

53rd Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) – Environment and Sustainable

Georgetown, Guyana


2 Feb - 20 Mar

Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf -37th Session

UN HQ, New York


5 – 6 Feb

Meeting of the Senior Maritime Administrators of the Caribbean in 2015

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago


10 – 12 Feb

Caribbean Water Information Generator Second and Final Stakeholder Consultation Workshop

Bridgetown, Barbados


16 - 20 Feb

Meeting of the ICCAT Working Group on Stock Assessment Methods

Miami, USA


19 – 20 Feb

24th Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum

Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines


23 - 24 Feb

Caribbean Green Economy Conference 2015 which will be held from 23 to 24 February 2015 in Kingston, Jamaica

Kingston, Jamaica


23-27 Feb

Meeting of the Global Record Informal Open-Ended Technical and Advisory Working Group

FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy


23 - 27 Feb

Inter-sessional Meeting of the Panel 2/10th Meeting of the IMM Working Group

Madrid, Spain


25 - 26 Feb

Regional Consultation to formulate a Plan of Action for Invasive Species for the OECS

Rodney Bay, St. Lucia


5 March

CARICOM Thematic Group - Agricultural Health and Food Safety Systems (AHFSS)



6 March

Agriculture Food and Nutrition Cluster Meeting



10 - 13 Mar

Strategy Meeting for Action on Blue Growth and Food Security

St. George’s, Grenada



CRFM/ UF SG Meeting & Presentation on CRFM to Faculty and Staff



16 - 17 Mar

11th Round of Informal consultations of States Parties to the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement

UN HQ, New York


16-18 Mar

Expert Group Meeting on Enhancing the Science-Policy Interface in SIDS

St. Lucia


17-18 Mar

7th Caribbean International Food Safety and Security Conference

Montego Bay, Jamaica


17 - 19 Mar

FAO/WECAFC Logical Framework/Project Design Workshop pf Project “Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean Fisheries Sector”

Bridgetown, Barbados


23 - 27 Mar

Blue Shark Data Preparatory Meeting

Madrid, Spain


30 Mar – 31 Mar

13th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum

St. George’s, Grenada


2 April

Delivery of ITLOS Advisory opinion in Case 21 on IUU Fishing

Hamburg, Germany


6-10 April

16th Meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultive Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea

UN HQ, New York


9 or 10 April

SPS TAC Meeting (Electronic)




WECAFC/CRFM/IFREMER Working Group on Shrimp and Groundfish -1st Regional shrimp and groundfish fisheries management investment planning workshop (Suriname, April 2015, dates TBD) –IDB supported.

Paramaribo, Suriname



FAO/WECAFC Inception workshop project "Sustainable management of bycatch in Latin America and Caribbean trawl fisheries ” – GEF IW supported




WECAFC/CRFM/OSPESCA/CFMC Working Group on Recreational Fisheries – 2nd meeting on billfish management and conservation planning + WECAFC/FAO Project inception workshop of the Caribbean Billfish project   (component of the Ocean Partnerships For Sustainable Fisheries And Biodiversity Conservation – Models For Innovation And Reform), –World Bank supported.

Barbados or Miami


24-27 April

Fisheries Legal Component - EU-sponsored Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Programme in the CARIFORUM Region - in-country legal mission

The Bahamas


27 Apr - 1 May

Group of Experts of the Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of marine environment, including socioeconomic aspects

UN HQ, New York


29 April - 1 May

Fisheries Legal Component - EU-sponsored Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Programme in the CARIFORUM Region - in-country legal mission



4-5 May

Fisheries Legal Component - EU-sponsored Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Programme in the CARIFORUM Region - in-country legal mission



4 - 8 May

Bigeye Data Preparatory Meeting

Madrid, Spain


7-9 May

Fisheries Legal Component - EU-sponsored Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Programme in the CARIFORUM Region - in-country legal mission



11 - 12 May

1st Meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on FADs

Madrid, Spain


11-13 May

Fisheries Legal Component - EU-sponsored Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Programme in the CARIFORUM Region - in-country legal mission

Dominican Republic


13-15 May

CARPHA/ PAHO/ IICA Regional Foodborne Diseases Surveillance and Food Safety Workshop

Trinidad & Tobago


15 May

9th Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council

St. George’s, Grenada


18 - 22 May

Convention Amendment Working Group, COM

Miami, USA


20 May - 17 Jul

Training Programme on Ocean Governance: Policy, Law and Management

Nova Scotia, Canada


28-29 May

Final Meeting of E15 Expert Group on Fisheries Oceans and trade System



31 May- 4 June

Field Mission under the SPS Environmental Consultancy



2 June

First CARICOM-Indian Joint Commission

Georgetown, Guyana


8 June

World Oceans Day



3-6 June

CARICOMP-2 Meeting



7-11 June

Field Mission under the SPS Environmental Consultancy



8 - 12 June

Sub-Committee On Ecosystems Intersessional Meeting

Madrid, Spain


9-11 June

ITLOS Case 21 Follow-up Workshop

Dakar, Senegal


8 - 12 June

25th Meeting of States Parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

UN HQ, New York


10 - 13 June

Small Tunas Species Group Intersessional Meeting, SCRS

Madrid, Spain


11-12 June

16th OECS Ministerial Meeting on Sustainable Use of Living Marine Resources



11-16 June

Field Mission under the SPS Environmental Consultancy



16-18 June

10th EDF SPS Project - Fourth Meeting of the Technical Advisory & Technical Oversight Committee Meetings



September 2015 – March 2016

UNU-FTP Fisheries Training Programme



22 - 26 June

Dialogue between Scientists and Managers Working Group/WG Fisheries Managers and Scientist in support of the Western Bluefin Stock Assessment



23-25 June

FAD Fisheries Management Write-shop

St. Vincent and the Grenadines


29 June - 3 July

Field Mission under the SPS Environmental Consultancy



June (date TBD)

WECAFC Regional workshop on fisheries data collection, analysis, sharing and reporting –EU supported

Bridgetown, Barbados


2-4 July

36th Regular Meeting of Heads of Government



2 July (8:00-12:00)

Jamaica national Consultation on Fisheries Risk Insurance Initiative



6-9 July

Final Regional Training of Trainers Workshop for Fisherfolk Mentors



9-10 July

Seminar on Laws to Protect Oceans and Seas



6-11 July

2015 UF Ecosim/ Ecopath Lionfish Modelling and Management Training



6 - 24 July

21st Session of the International Seabed Authority

UN HQ, New York


13 - 17 Jul

Bigeye Stock Assessment Meeting

Lisbon, Portugal


20-21 July (Officials) 22-23 July (Ministerial)

4th Meeting of ACP Ministers in Charge of Fisheries and Agriculture



20 Jul - 4 Sept

Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf – 38th session

UN HQ, New York


23-24 July

8th CARICOM-UN Meeting



27 - 31 July

Blue Shark Stock Assessment Meeting

Lisbon, Portugal


24-25 August

Regional Validations Workshop, Fisheries Component of the EU Funded SPS Measures Project



1-3 September

FAO/ WECAFC Expert Meeting to Assess RFMO Arrangements & 1 day Meeting to discuss Fisheries Coordinating Mechanism for CLME Project



 7-8 September

 FAO/ WECAFC/ IDB/ CRFM/ IFREMER Workshop Investing in Ecosystem-based Shrimp and Groundfish Fisheries Management of the Guianas - Brazil Shelf



8 - 11 September

Sixth Meeting - Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole on the Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of marine environment, including socioeconomic aspects

UN HQ, New York


14-15 September

Meeting of the Secretary General and Heads of Community Institutions, and 2015 Donor Coordinator Meeting

Georgetown, Guyana


14 September

1st Special Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum

Via GoTo Meeting


15-18 September

FAO/ WECAFC/ CRFM Statistics Workshop



16 September

SPS TAC Meeting (Virtual)



21 - 25 September

SCRS Species Groups Meetings (SC Statistics 21 - 22)

Madrid, Spain


24 September

First Meeting of the Consotium on Billfish Management and Conservation (CBMC)

Via Skype


28 Sept - 2 Oct

Meeting of the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics

Madrid, Spain


28 Sept - 2 Oct

First round- Informal consultations on omnibus resolution on oceans and the law of the sea

UN HQ, New York


29 September - 1 October

Common Wealth and UNCTAD Ad Hoc Expert Meeting on Trade in Sustainable Fisheries (AHEM)

Geneva, Switzerland


30 September

Meeting of CCS Agriculture Planners Forum



5-8 October

Third Regional Caribbean Fisherfolk Action Learning Group Workshop

Antigua & Barbuda


6 October

59th Special Meeting of COTED-Agriculture (Officials Meeting)

Georgetown, Guyana


8 October

59th Special Meeting of COTED-Agriculture (Ministerial Meeting)

Georgetown, Guyana


9 October

59th Special Meeting of COTED

Georgetown, Guyana


12 Oct - 27 Nov

Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf – 39th session

UN HQ, New York


14-16 October

SIDs Food Security and Nutrition Conference

Milan, Italy


15-16 October

Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation

Puerto Rico


19-23 October

Visit of Grenada Minister, PS, CFO to Belize re MPA Management and Meeting with the CRFM



19-24 October

CODEX Committee Meeting on Fish and Fish Products

Alesund, Norway


23 October

25th Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum

via GoTo Meeting


Oct (date TBD)

WECAFC/OSPESCA (CRFM?) Working Group on Sharks management and conservation– CITES supported

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago


26-28 October

CLME PEG/ SAP Interim Coordinating Meeting

Miami, USA


Oct/Nov (date TBD)

CFMC/WECAFC/OSPESCA/CRFM Working Group on Spawning Aggregations – CFMC/USA supported.

Miami or Panama City


3-6 November

CTA/ IICA Agri-businees Forum



8 - 9 November

WECAFC 7th session of the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) – FAO supported.

Panama City, Panama


9-11 November

WECAFC/ OSPESCA/ CRFM/ CFMC Working Group on Recreational Fisheries - 2nd Regional Workshop on Billfish Management and Conservation

Panama City, Panama


9 – 13 Nov

68th Annual GCFI Meeting

Panama City, Panama


10 - 17 Nov

24th Regular Meeting of the ICCAT Commission



10 - 17 Nov

Informal consultations on resolution on sustainable fisheries

UN HQ, New York


27-29 Nov

Commonwealth Heads Conference



18 - 24 Nov

Second round- Informal consultations on omnibus resolution on oceans and the law of the sea

UN HQ, New York


23-24 November

ACS/ CSC SYMPOSIUM: Challenges, Dialogue and Cooperation towards the Sustainability of the Caribbean Sea



1-2 December

2nd WECAFC Reorientation and Strategic Planning Workshop - EU supported

Trinidad and Tobago


3 December (tentative)

4th SPS Technical Oversight Committee Meeting




Fisheries & Tourism Work Group to review Study Report




The Workshop which was organised by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat in collaboration with the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisation (CNFO) with support from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), brought together stakeholders from the fisheries sector as well as the media to deepen their understanding of the “blue growth concept” on 20 – 21 November 2014, in St. Georges, Grenada.


Published in CTA Project


The four-wing flyingfish, scientifically known as Hirundichthys affinis, has long been the subject of attention in the region. Growing to just about 25cm in length, living at most just 1.5 years, and being caught in the fishery from as early as 5 to 7 months, this species supports a fishery that is of direct, significant importance for food and nutrition security and employment in at least in two CRFM Member States, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. Flyingfish is also becoming more important as a source of bait for the expanding offshore fisheries that target large pelagic species such as dolphinfish, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, and billfishes, which are top predator fishes for which flyingfish is a natural food source. Consequently, flyingfish is a key species in the food web as any drastic declines in the size of the population is likely to affect fisheries for large pelagic species, many of which are high-priced. Considerable research has been conducted on the biology, ecology, genetic stock structure, distribution and migration of the four-wing flyingfish as well as attempts at assessing the health or status of the stock.


Fisheries are an important source of food, income and cultural identity for Caribbean communities. While reef fisheries in the Caribbean are frequently over-exploited, offshore pelagic resources also targeted by the US sport-fishing industry may generate alternative economic benefits and divert pressure from reefs. Key to the efficient harvesting of thinly-distributed pelagic fish is the use of fish aggregation devices (FADs). Traditionally, FADs were deployed by individuals or close-knit groups of fishers. Recently, governments have deployed public FADs accessible to all. There is concern that public FADs are exploited less efficiently and produce conflicts related to crowding and misuse.

In partnership with Counterpart International, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism and the Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines Fisheries Divisions, Florida Sea Grant collected information from fishermen on their use of FADs that were deployed privately, by small groups or by the government. This allowed for a determination of governance arrangements that were most profitable and provided input to stakeholder meetings with FAD fishers to identify best practices for sustainably using and co-managing FADs.

The fishing trip analysis shows that catch and profitability are higher when FADs are managed privately or by small groups and access to the aggregated fisheries resources is somewhat restricted. An engagement strategy that introduced an activity planner as a best practice to increase information sharing helped strengthen the rapport between government and fisheries stakeholders. Study results are helping shape regional implementation of policy, which favors FADs co-managed by fishers and government, but can benefit from positive aspects of FADs managed privately or by small groups.

Published in Press release
Friday, 19 September 2014 16:03

Seabob Fishing Season Closes in Guyana

Fishing season closes for Seabob in Guyana

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries Department, has implemented a closed season for the Guyana`s seabob (shrimp) fishery.

This 2014 closure was ratified by Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy in keeping with protocols previously established between the Seabob Industry and the Ministry. The timeframe approved is September 8th, 2014 to October 26th, 2014 (6 weeks), both dates inclusive.

The closed session is supported by the Guyana Association of Trawler Owners & Seafood Processors (GATOSP).

In this regard, all Seabob fishing vessels were advised to dock from midnight on September 7th and will remain in port until midnight October 26th, 2014. Closed seasons are specified time periods where no fishing is permitted for a particular fishery and has been an ongoing activity for several years in Guyana; its implantation is closely monitored by the Fisheries Department on an annual basis. Such an intervention is not only limited to Guyana but has fast became a global practice aimed at allowing various fisheries to multiply or replenish, thus ensuring growth and sustainability.

The Seabob fishery in Guyana has been well known over the years for generating foreign exchange earnings and revenue through exports regionally and to markets in North America and Europe. The major industrial stakeholders include: Pritipaul Singh Investment, Noble House Seafoods, BEV Processors, Guyana Quality Seafoods and Fisheries Department.

Seabob data submitted by these companies are used to conduct annual stock assessments at the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Annual Scientific Workshop. As much as seventeen member states participates annually at these meetings of which Guyana has been one of the more frequent attendees. It is important to note that attendance at these meeting support frequent stock assessments of an identified fish stock and it is a pivotal prerequisite to the country achieving Marine Steward Counsel Certification (MSC) for a particular fish stock.

Measures are currently being put in place for the seabob fishery to be assessed to achieve this certification shortly. MSC certification basically signifies that harvesting and management of a particular fisheries resource is being done in a sustainable manner which in turn allows for access into global markets for sale of produce.

The seabob stock was last assessed in June, 2013, where it was deemed fully utilised but not over fished. As a result of this, a proposed Harvest Control Rule (HCR) (considered as `best practices` in fisheries management) was drafted following deliberations with the consultant, GATOSP and Fisheries Department. Considerations were given to fisher earnings, political acceptability and the level of precaution required. It was noted that any proposed HCR would undergo further evaluation through future stock assessments, which it was hoped would include improvements on the 2013 assessment. However, it is not anticipated that this would dramatically change any results. An overall days-at-sea limit was proposed; 87 licences each with an allocated 225 days at sea.

The proposed rule was evaluated in June, 2014 by members of the Continental Shelf Fisheries Working Group (CSWG) which comprises representatives from Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. The group endorsed the rule on the basis that was considered to be consistent with attaining maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and maintaining the stock above the limit reference point. This limit was acceptable to industry, because it would not limit current fishing activity as long as indicators remained high, and would allow the fishery to take advantage of strong recruitments. The stock is currently in a good condition which was indicated by the attainment of favourable catch rates by fishers. Despite these achievements the current fishing effort employed is lower than the maximum limit stipulated in the HCR which augers well for sustainability.

The Minister has also approved the closed of the prawn fishery for the same period.

Fisheries Department
September 2014


Published in Press release


Belize City, August 27, 2014:  The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will on September 5, 2014 give oral arguments to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, Germany in response to a request for an advisory opinion on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in African waters.

ITLOS, which is made up of 21 Judges, including two from the Caribbean, namely, Judge Dolliver Nelson (Grenada), and Judge Anthony Amos Lucky (Trinidad and Tobago), is hearing oral submissions from States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and International Organisations with an interest in the subject.

Professor Pieter Bekker

Legal Counsel for the CRFM, Professor Pieter Bekker of Dundee University, UK (photo left) will join representatives of nine (9) countries and the SRFC, the European Union (EU), and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in presenting oral arguments.

Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM, noted: “The hearing is as important to the Caribbean as it is to the States that have sought advice, as it could set significant precedents for the way illegal fishing is dealt with in the future, particularly regarding the liability of flag States for IUU fishing conducted by their vessels.”

He continued: “IUU fishing is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that inflicts great economic and environmental harm on States that are victims, especially developing countries such as CARICOM countries, with limited capacity for monitoring, control and enforcement of their fisheries laws.”

The SRFC is seeking advice in response to four questions:

1) What are the obligations of the flag State in cases where illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities are conducted within the Exclusive Economic Zone of third party States?

2) To what extent shall the flag State be held liable for IUU fishing activities conducted by vessels sailing under its flag?

3) Where a fishing license is issued to a vessel within the framework of an international agreement with the flag State or with an international agency, shall the State or international agency be held liable for the violation of the fisheries legislation of the coastal State by the vessel in question?

4) What are the rights and obligations of the coastal State in ensuring the sustainable management of shared stocks and stocks of common interest, especially the small pelagic species and tuna?

The Case was initiated on March 28, 2013, when the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) representing seven African States sought the Tribunal’s assistance regarding IUU fishing by vessels registered in foreign States within waters under the national jurisdiction or control of its members and on the High Seas.  The SRFC includes Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone and the Gambia.

The arguments in Case 21 can be viewed via live Web stream through the ITLOS Web site (

Published in Press release

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